Do you wonder what a Chinese court is like? How do Chinese judges, lawyers and prosecutors behave in court? How is a trial proceeding in a Chinese court?
Wherever you are in the world, you are able to watch the live broadcast of the court trial at any time as long as you have a computer connected to the Internet, and then log in to the China Trials Online (http://tingshen.court.gov.cn/).
In this website, you can
- watch the live broadcast of all cases in China’s Supreme People’s Court (SPC) (http://tingshen.court.gov.cn/court/0), and also review the trial video（http://tingshen.court.gov.cn/court/review/0?courtLevel=1）;
- watch the live broadcast of important cases in almost all the Chinese courts (http://tingshen.court.gov.cn/court?areaCode=110000), and also review the video of various court trials（http://tingshen.court.gov.cn/review）;
- check the ranking list with regard to video watching, to find out which cases in live broadcast are most popular to Chinese people (http://tingshen.court.gov.cn/rank);
- check the statistics, to find out how many cases in different courts have their trials broadcast live (http://tingshen.court.gov.cn/dataOpen).
You can also download the app of the SPC (https://itunes.apple.com/cn/app/id977548655) on the App Store and watch the live broadcast of Chinese court trials on your mobile phone.
The China Trials Online was formally launched on 27 September 2016 and was jointly developed and operated by the SPC and Sina, China's largest online news website.
As of 31 December 2017, a total of 3,314 courts have connected to the China Trials Online, which accounted for approximately 94% of the total number of Chinese courts; these courts have accumulatively had their over 560,000 court trials broadcast live, with a maximum of more than 4,000 live broadcasts on a single day. The single live broadcast racks up a maximum of 11.62 million views, and the total number of viewers reaches over 4.2 billion. There have been 38,206 judges in China, who broadcast their trials on the China Trials Online, and among whom 296 judges broadcast more than 40 cases annually.
Judge Zhou Qiang (the SPC president, and Grand Justice of the first rank), when mentioning the reason why the online live broadcast of Chinese court trials is conducted, states that the purpose is to comprehensively deepen judicial disclosure, regulate judicial conducts, and enhance the quality and effectiveness of trials. In other words, firstly it is to make the judiciary more open, to enhance people’s trust in the Chinese judiciary, and to reduce people’s dissatisfaction with the court judgments. Secondly it is to prevent judiciary corruption by means of disclosing the judges' performance in court trials. Thirdly, it is to enable people to observe and evaluate the performance of judges, lawyers, and prosecutors in court trials. The peers in the legal sector can also learn from each other, so that they can improve their performance in court and the quality of trials in Chinese courts can be improved as well.
Nowadays people have begun to utilize the China Trials Online in various ways. When some of the parties appear in court, their relatives and friends are able to watch the trial at home through an online live broadcast. Some lawyers may refine their experience and improve their litigation skills by watching a large number of online live broadcasts of trials in specific types of cases. In December 2016, the China Trials Online even conducted the third-party assessment of the trial quality, in which law school professors, lawyers, and company legal counselors scored and evaluated the judge's trial performance.
The on-line trial broadcast also attracted public attention to the issue of privacy. In this regards, the SPC stipulates that there are currently four types of cases that cannot be broadcast live:
(1) cases that involve State secrets, trade secrets, personal privacy, and juvenile delinquency and other cases which shall not be tried in public in accordance with laws;
(2) criminal cases which may not be broadcast live according to the procuratorial organs’ explicit statement with justified reasons;
(3) civil and administrative cases which may not be broadcast live according to the parties’ explicit proposal with justified reasons;
(4)and other cases that are not suitable for live broadcasting or recording.
We will remain concerned about the role the China Trials Online will continue to play in China’s judicial reform.
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Yuan Yanchao also contributes to the post.