[JURIST] The Shanghai People's Higher Court will broadcast its hearings online, a Shanghai judge announced Tuesday. China began televising live court cases [BBC report] in 1998, and the internet broadcasts are the newest element of its effort to increase judicial transparency. Speaking at a conference last week, Supreme People's Court (SPC) Chief Justice Wang Shengjun recommended [China Daily report]:
We should make full use of the Internet, letters from and visits by the masses and appeals, among others, to ensure that the public can express their opinions.The SPC has also promised that judges whose decisions are frequently overturned will be punished. Shanghai Daily has more.
China's judicial system was devastated by the Cultural Revolution [BBC backgrounder], and the nation has been trying to implement the rule of law for decades [1979 Time report], but many judges remain completely untrained. In April, Human Rights Watch (HRW) [advocacy website] released a report [text; JURIST report] accusing the Chinese government of subjecting lawyers to increasing persecution and intimidation. HRW acknowledged that the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) is establishing a modern court system that purports to "recognize the validity of human rights norms," but stressed that much improvement is needed. HRW urged the Chinese government to ensure greater freedom for lawyers, particularly imprisoned human rights advocates Yang Maodong and Gao Zhiseng [JURIST reports].