Judicial Transparency by People's Courts
VI. Enriching and Innovating the Content and Form of Judicial Transparency
With the development of the information era, the demand of the general public for judicial information is increasing. Progress of the internet and new media technologies have brought opportunities and challenges to the development of judicial transparency. People's courts have continuously expanded the breadth of judicial transparency, made innovation on measures concerning judicial transparency and promoted further development of the judicial transparency, by taking judicial reform and informatization construction as the motivating factor.
Improvement of the Regular Release of Judicial Information
People's courts at all levels shall continuously improve the regular release mechanism for all kinds of judicial information, and realize the normalization of information disclosure and enhance the authoritativeness of the information release, by means of publication of work reports and whitepapers, etc.
The SPC has regularly published the Bulletin of the Supreme People's Court, the Work Report of the Supreme People's Court and the Annual Work Report of People's Courts (in Chinese and English) and other materials in an attempt to disclose judicial documents, significant cases and court work to the general public both at home and abroad. The SPC has carried out such theme activities in the form of publicity week such as "IPR Day" and has published China IPR Judicial Protection Status White Paper, Top 10 IPR Cases of the Year and Top 50 Typical Cases of the Year and other materials to show our good image in IPR judicial protection. In September, 2014, the SPC issued the first Maritime Trial White Paper to publish Top 10 Maritime Trial Cases, which demonstrates our trial competence and level in maritime and marine cases. On February 26, 2016, the SPC issued the first Judicial Reform Whitepaper to systematically introduce the progress of the judicial reform of people’s courts since the 3rd Plenary Session of the 18th Central Committee of the Communist Party. On July 27, 2016, the SPC issued the first Environmental Resources Trial Whitepaper to fully reflect the environmental resources trial work in China in recent years. The people's courts at all levels have proactively accommodated to the demand of the times of big data, analyzed case information and data, released professional trial white papers in administration, finance, bankruptcy, protection of rights and interests of consumers, and protection of intellectual property rights, and intensified their efforts in disclosing information on all professional trial fields.
The people's courts at all levels have strengthened court information disclosure in connection with trial work. The general public is now able to consult information regarding court institutions, crew of the court, judicial transparency operation guide, litigation guide, court trial announcement, hearing announcement and trial guidance documents, through administrative affairs disclosure website, court bulletin, electronic screen and case information inquiry platform. Many courts will disclose some judicial statistics data, research and survey results, information on the "three public expenses" of courts and information on acceptance of supervision by people’s courts that do not involve any State secret, so as to satisfy the public's demand for judicial information to the maximum extent.
Establishment and Improvement of the System of Press Conference
People's courts at all levels has established and improved the system of press conference and enhanced the authoritative release mechanism for major judicial information. Since January 1, 2015, the courts in China have started to carry out the monthly meeting system for press release. The SPC has kept expanding the functions of the system of press release and enlarged the influence of press release. From 2013 to 2016, the SPC has held 86 press conferences, issued 58 judicial papers and circulated 28 reports on work progress.
The SPC has kept deepening the system of publication of guiding cases and typical cases. By the end of 2016, 77 guiding cases have been published in 15 publications. From January 2015 to December 2016, 484 typical cases in total have been made public through briefings on typical cases. On August 29, 2014, the SPC published the Top 10 Land Acquisition and Demolition Cases Tried by People’s Courts, and on September 12, 2014, the SPC published Top 10 Government Information Disclosure Cases; on January 15, 2015, the SPC published the Top 10 Administrative Nonfeasance Cases; on April 20, 2015, the SPC published the Top 10 Intellectual Property Rights Cases Tried by People's Courts in 2014 and the Top 10 Innovational Intellectual Property Rights Cases Tried by People’s Courts in 2014; and the like.
Building up Multifunctional Website of Administrative Affairs of Courts
People's courts at all levels have taken the website of the administrative affairs of courts as the most important platform for judicial transparency, and proactively built up the comprehensive website of administrative affairs of courts integrating such functions as judicial transparency, litigation service, judicial supervision and interactive contact. People's courts at all levels have built up links to the platforms of judicial process information disclosure, trial disclosure by means of live broadcasting, judgments disclosure and enforcement information disclosure on the official website, so as to provide convenience to the general public to access to several judicial transparency services from one login entry. On December 31, 2014, the administrative affairs website of the SPC completed its comprehensive revision and update, and the litigation service website was officially launched, which will facilitate the parties to a case to consult and inquire, make appointments for case registration, read case files online and contact judges. On December 15, 2015, the SPC opened its English website to satisfy the recognition needs of international community on China’s justice.
All local people's courts shall strengthen the timely update of the content on the websites, and strive to explore the conversion from one-way information publishing platform to a bi-directional interactive platform with functions such as online appointment for case registration, inquiry, business handling, consulting, Q&A and download. Courts in Beijing have built up the Beijing Court Trial Information Website (http://www.bjcourt.gov.cn/) in late December, 2013, which has become a comprehensive platform for judicial transparency and online services by courts in Beijing, with the functions of information release, online services and rapid inquiry. Zhejiang Court Disclosure Website (http://www.zjsfgkw.cn/) started its service in July, 2014 and connected all people's courts in Zhejiang province by internet technologies. Its backstage data center will uniformly, automatically and safely transmit judicial transparency information to it. The parties to a case can inquire case information by their passwords, and general public and parties to a case may consult litigation guideline, judgments, verdicts and conciliation statements, judicial documents and instruments, information on dishonest persons subject to enforcement and enforcement auction and other judicial information, and may watch court trial live broadcasting and videos, make an appointment to attend and hear the court trials, read case files online and carry out online settlement and otherwise. The Website has simultaneously operated a mobile micro website, and supports mobile phone, iPad and other mobile platform terminals and browsers, and realizes access at any time anywhere with any device. Courts in Jilin have established the specialized judicial information disclosure website to validly link the official website of the court, e-court of Jilin and judicial transparency platform, and divided the disclosed information into four (4) top-level categories, namely, disclosure of trial affairs, disclosure of judgments, verdicts and conciliation statements, disclosure of trial process and disclosure of enforcement information, in terms of setting of platform columns. There are 18 second-level categories including organization structure, instructions to litigation, petitions through letters and visits, commutation and parole, and enforcement announcement, and there are 66 third-level categories including litigation documents sample, litigation cost standards, instructions to petitions through visits and hearing announcement. The judicial information disclosure website will publish trial-related information on a real-time basis.
Promotion of Establishment of Disclosure Platforms on New Media
People's courts at all levels have relied on internet and new media technologies to greatly strengthen the crossover and integration of the construction of judicial transparency platform and information technology, widely use mobile client, Weibo, WeChat, mobile APP and other forms of new media, and expand the new means for judicial transparency.
Since 2013, the SPC has successively opened the official Sina Weibo ID, Tencent Weibo ID and Renmin Weibo ID and launched the National Court Weibo Hall, to fully enter into major Weibo platform in China. By the end of 2016, the total number of fans of the three official Weibo IDs of the SPC has exceeded 33.12 million and these three official Weibo IDs have published over 25,000 messages and received comments of 3.45 million. In the Sina Administrative Affairs Weibo Report 2014 published by the Public Opinions Monitoring Office of People's Daily, @最高人民法院 ranked in Top 10 Administrative Affairs and Institutional Weibo IDs and Top 10 Department and Ministry Weibo IDs, and ranked No.1 among the Top 10 Best Application Awards for Administrative Affairs Weibo IDs in China and the Top 10 Judicial Weibo IDs. On December 14, 2014, the new media of the Supreme People’s Court ranked 3rd in the List of Administrative Affairs New Media with Comprehensive Influence in China in 2014. "National Court Weibo Hall" has become the first official Weibo cluster at national level serving Weibo halls of institutions at provincial level (31 provincial institutions), and the rudiment of Weibo pattern of "national team + local team" has been formed. By the end of 2016, there are 3,547 courts in China that have opened official Weibo accounts.
The SPC's official WeChat ID was launched officially in November, 2013, and completely changed and updated in April, 2014 to integrate all kinds of media resources of the court system, so as to provide services to users such as judicial information, judicial transparency and communication of public opinion and become a comprehensive open and service-oriented platform. By the end of 2016, there are 1,120 graphic messages published and 414,000 subscribers. The official WeChat ID of the SPC has shortlisted the "Top 10 Administrative Affairs WeChat ID in China of the Year 2014".
The SPC joint the Sohu News Mobile Client-end platform on December 26, 2013, and thereafter opened client-end accounts on the platforms of Sohu, People's Daily, Toutiao, Netease, Yidianzixun and Qiehao. As of the end of 2016, the six client-end accounts have published over 31,000 pieces of information of various types and own over 20.8 million subscribers.
On February 27, 2015, the APP named "China Court Mobile TV" officially launched for operation, and has opened such columns as legal news, hotly-debated issue in rule of law, and live broadcasting of court trial, and has such functions as What's Hot, Live Broadcasting Appointment and On-demand Video. The SPC has uploaded 4,886 videos and 676,000 subscribers at the present, and recorded 3,616,700 hits in the highest.
Promotion of the Diversified Judicial Interactive Communication
People's courts at all levels have actively responded to the concerns and expectations of people, further smoothed the channels for communication with public opinions, made innovations on interactive communication method, and built up the good interactive communication mechanism between the courts and the people by means of Court Open Day, opening message leaving column and creating exclusive communication platform.
The SPC regularly holds thematic and diversified Campaigns of Public Open Day to invite NPC members, CPPCC members, grassroots and minors to pay a visit to the SPC to directly experience the charisma of the highest trial authority and the judicial achievements in China. The new China Courts Museum has been built up to inherit the Chinese judicial culture and exhibit our construction achievements in rule of law. On May 28, 2015, the SPC's First Circuit Court held the "Walk in to Experience the Rule of Law" Open Day Event to invite some NPC members, CPPCC members, lawyer representatives, businessmen representatives, resident representatives and college student representatives to walk in the circuit court to observe the court trial and the reception work for petitions through visits, which has fully displayed the reform achievements in the SPC’s establishment of the circuit court. On December 4, 2015, the SPC held the "12·4" Open Day Theme Event ("I Speak for Rule of Law") to have "Top Ten Press Spokesmen" of courts in China make theme speech and interactive communication with news media, so as to promote all walks of life to build up the constitution awareness, maintain the authority of the Constitution and deepen their recognition of the comprehensive promotion of rule of law. On May 28, 2014, the SPC has held the Campaign of Public Open Day for minors and the launching ceremony of the book Law on Your Side— Legal Protection for Minors, and Mr. Zhou Qiang, chief justice of the SPC has answered questions raised by representatives invited for visit. At early July 2014, the people's courts at all levels in China have carried out the special publicity and popularization campaign "Law on Your Side—Laws into School", and nearly 500 courts in 25 provinces and cities all around China have participated in this campaign. By jointly creating the Rule of Law Program with China Education Television, presiding judges have entered into the studio to interpret laws by case, promote the concept of rule of law and disseminate the spirit of rule of law. On August 27, 2014, the SPC launched the first themed open event facing foreign embassies and envoys in China, and 25 diplomatic envoys from 16 embassies in China visited the daily work of the SPC and attended and observed the court trial process. By the China-ASEAN Justice Forum, the BRICS Justice Forum and Sub-forum of Environmental Judicial Protection at Boao Forum for Asia 2015, the Conference of Presidents of Supreme Courts of China and Central and Eastern European Countries, and the Sino-British Justice Roundtable, we have showed our construction achievements in rule of law to the world and spread the voice of China in rule of law.
In order to comprehensively solicit opinions on judicial work from the people, understand the public's judicial demands and expand the judicial democracy, the SPC has successively opened the email for communication with public opinions, the column of "Message to Chief Justice", and contact and communication platform for NPC members and CPPCC members to widely solicit opinions and suggestions and timely make response. At the end of 2016, the SPC has received 24,000 opinions and suggestions from NPC members and CPPCC members, and the "Message to Chief Justice" Column has received 72,000 messages which are all responded timely. The SPC has opened a special column for solicitation of opinions on its official website to publish the judicial interpretations, guiding opinions and draft for comments concerning reform programs which are proposed to issue by the SPC, to provide valid channels for the public to participate in the judiciary and the supervision of judiciary.
Local people's courts at all levels have carried out informative and diversified legal publicity activities, in combination with local actuality. Since 2014, courts in Anhui have carried out the "Double 'Thousand' and Three 'Hundred'" Event, under which the courts in Anhui will in each year have approximately one thousand NPC members or CPPCC members attend and observe court trial, conduct about one thousand live broadcasting of court trials, hold hundreds of press conferences and hundreds of "Court Open Day" events. By April of 2016, they have organized 1,584 court open day events and listened to the comments on the courts from ten thousand provincial, municipal, and county representatives. Courts in Chongqing have carried out the "Judge in Community" theme event, and the People's Court in Yubei District, Chongqing has arranged 162 judge working groups to seamlessly connect with 162 communities in the district. The live broadcasting of court trials have joined the class, and college students may observe the live broadcasting of the court trial by remote video, and this has closed the distance with the general public and facilities the judicial disclosure and transparency.
All local courts have proactively and continuously increased the communication with the public, built up the good image of courts and judges and improve the judicial transparency and creditability by court mailbox, judicial interaction platform, aboveboard judiciary index assessment and otherwise. Chongqing High People's Court has published the emails of presidents of courts at three levels to the society, and in 2015, the president email of courts in Chongqing have handled 3,911 emails in total. Courts in Fujian have organized the implementation of the "Great Judicial Visit" Event, implemented "Judiciary in Community", and circulated the work situation of courts to all walks of life by means of interactive communication, interpreting laws by cases, legal consulting and legal publicity. Zhejiang High People's Court has cooperated with Zhejiang University to develop and formulate the judicial indicators evaluation system, and has entrusted the Institute of Law of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences as an independent third party to carry out dynamic monitoring and evaluation of the judicial transparency work since 2013, which has objectively and fully revealed the effects and problems in judicial transparency by courts and facilitated courts to correct any imperfectness and further promote the judicial transparency. Jilin High People's Court has formulated the Judiciary Index Assessment System for Court in Jilin Province to quantify the transparency standards and carry out valid assessment and evaluation of the judicial transparency work of the whole province. This measure has objectively reflected the reflections and comments of the general public on judicial transparency and promoted the on-going improvement of the judicial transparency work.