Recently, some readers discovered that the “Judicial Documents Website”, which stores a large number of Chinese court cases, has taken down the files of “convicted for words” cases and judgments on administrative cases brought by civilians against public security law enforcement agencies. Legal professionals see this move as a step backward from judicial openness to judicial secrecy.
The Supreme Court of China’s “Judicial Documents Website” has collected more than 100 million court cases over the years, making it the world’s largest public website of judicial documents. Recently, however, it has been discovered by those who are concerned that some of the court documents for what authorities consider to be sensitive cases have been taken down. The content of the website, which was originally open to the public, is becoming increasingly “confidential”.
Mr. Wei, a member of the legal profession in Guangxi, said in an interview with the station Friday (16) that case documents that used to be of concern to the outside world would not be uploaded to the website, but now it has gone even further: “Now, those (cases) that are not very influential cannot be found. They used to make these cases public for their intimidating effect, for example, if you criticize the party state or say a bad word about it and get sentenced. Now, after the decision documents are exposed, they are retracted. I reckon that in the future even ordinary cases will not necessarily be made public.”
According to the China Digital Times website, Mr. Wang, the operator of the Twitter account “China Word Jail Incident Inventory,” found that once he found and made public a case of “conviction for words” on the magistrate’s website, the corresponding magistrate’s document would soon disappear from the magistrate’s website after it attracted public attention. The case will disappear from the website. For example, Wang Qiang, an Internet user in Wuhan, was sentenced for “cursing the Party” on Twitter; Li, an Internet user in Jincheng, Shanxi, was sentenced for posting “negative comments related to Xi” on Twitter and WeChat; Luo Daiqing, an American student, was sentenced after returning to China for cursing Xi Jinping while studying in the United States, and so on.
Judges and judges who have been convicted for speaking out have all been taken off the shelves
In mid-May, China’s Judicial Documents website took down all documents containing certain keywords at once. For example, in the case of “provoking and provoking trouble”, the keywords “Twitter”, “Weibo”, “false information” and “state leader” were included. “In mid-June, all judgments of administrative cases containing the keywords “speech” and suing the Public Security Bureau were again taken down.
Mr. Chen, a Guangdong lawyer, told the station that the authorities often claim to speak about democracy and the rule of law, and that they are not afraid of criticism and self-criticism, but these slogans are just propaganda: “Unfortunately, they are only superficial, propaganda, and aim to deceive the nation and foreigners. With the passage of time, its essence will be more and more exposed. Those who know and can think will see more and more clearly. This is the case with the changing perception and attitude of Western society toward the CCP over the years.”
Mr. Chen said the downgrading of magisterial documents is an example of this. In recent years, a large number of visitors have been criminally incriminated, the extensive use of illegal residential surveillance, the use of criminal responsibility instead of the reeducation-through-labor system, the use of community corrections, the wearing of monitored watches and cell phones, etc., which disguises the imposition of physical control and is also an example of anti-legal justice by legal means.
Chen Jiangang, a lawyer now living in the United States, said to this station that because China’s judiciary is not independent, there will be tendentious decisions. If there is a bent judgment, someone will expose it.
He said, “Because if people have eyes, they can distinguish between right and wrong. The vast majority of judicial documents of the Chinese Communist Party are not allowed to be seen in court, so they will not abide by the principle of judicial openness, and do not allow spectators or family members to hire lawyers. The final manifestation of this is that judicial documents are not open to the public, which means that everything is in secret.”
The number of visits reached 48 billion times by the official media praise
China’s judicial documents network opened in July 2013, in addition to state secrets, personal privacy; involving minors in violation of the law and other inappropriate to publish on the Internet, the rest of the case can be open. In this regard, the People’s Daily last year praised the Judgment Documents website, which “greatly enriches the case sources for jurisprudence research and also helps judges avoid different sentencing guidelines for similar cases. Through the maximum law enforcement judicial openness, in order to make the backroom operation no space, law enforcement judicial corruption nowhere to hide.”
According to official statistics disclosed that as of August last year, the total number of instruments on the Chinese Judicial Documents Network exceeded 100 million, with a total of nearly 48 billion visits, making it the world’s largest public website for judicial documents.