The Futile Judicial Openness Discussion
On Wednesday, the official website of the Supreme People’s Court held a forum on judicial openness and impartiality with Internet experts, journalists, and popular Chinese bloggers. This forum was criticized as futile because the Communist regime has never stopped the suppression of human rights and freedom of speech.
The official website of the Supreme People’s Court published its forum on the new media era’s judicial openness on the 19th. Participants included the Internet information management authority, major domestic news media and online media, experts and academics, as well as the Supreme Court President Zhou Qiang, Vice-President Jing Hanchao, and unit heads of the court.
The forum was said to discuss how to promote judicial openness through the Internet. After the discussion, Zhou Qiang demanded further openness and impartiality of the courts at all levels.
The Chinese freelance writer Liu Yiming indicates the forum on judicial openness is mainly a show, considering the absence of human rights and the seriously corrupt judiciary system in China.
Liu Yiming, Chinese freelance writer: “China’s press and speech have been tightly controlled by the regime, and even deteriorating for the last two years. This forum, seemingly freedom promoting of Internet opinion, could in fact be a hit on these people, so that they would behave and obey the authorities."
Since the fifth generation of the CCP leaders came to power, a wave of anti-corruption has gone up on the Chinese Internet. However, in the name of anti-rumor on-line, the CCP arrested tens of thousands of netizens in just the second half of last year. Leading Chinese blogger Xue Manzi was even arrested on the charges of “soliciting a prostitute.” Shortly after, the Supreme People’s Court and the Supreme People’s Procuratorate issued together a draconian, jail sentence for the rumor forwarded for 500 times.
Also a participant of the forum, on-line commentator Wuyue Sanren told Zhou Qiang bluntly, “The rumor forwarded for 500 times subject to arrest is an extremely terrible judicial interpretation,” and “the opposition between the public and the authorities has been formed. Its purpose to guide public opinion will only create greater opposition.”
In a recent Nieman Report from the Nieman Foundation for Journalism at Harvard, a dozen of journalists both Chinese and international described the state of journalism in China, 25 years after Tiananmen Massacre. They targeted the discussion on the censorship by the CCP propaganda department, on the Internet and new social media through the implementation of the Great Firewall, shielding sensitive words, and wiping out the blogger’s post.
Yang Xiao, a 2014 Nieman Fellow, is Beijing correspondent and a chief writer for Southern People Weekly. He previously worked for Xinhua News Agency. He revealed in the Nieman Report, after the Beijing Olympics, “the regime became less and less tolerant of dissent.” “All this left little room for the Chinese liberal media, one prominent casualty of which has been investigative journalism.” “The list of banned or sensitive words continues to grow, and now includes ”universal values,” ”constitutional democracy,” and ”checks and balances.””
Paul Mooney, denied a visa to report in China in 2013, also stated in his article in the Nieman Report entitled, “Command and Control” the terrible situation of Chinese media and the various forms of government intimidation, harassment, surveillance, foreign journalists face. He wrote, “The scare tactics are working.…Some of the country’s most prominent journalists and writers have now silenced themselves, and some have even left the country.”
Human rights lawyer Tang Jingling indicates under the circumstances of the CCP creating miscarriages of justice, persecution of human rights, and control of speech, a forum about judicial openness is useless.
Tang Jingling, human rights lawyer: “The core issue of justice is the basic fairness and protection of human rights cases. Without fairness in human rights issues or crimes the officials have committed, there is no way to restore fairness of justice."
Tang Jingling explains that even though Zhou Qiang was talking about judicial openness and fairness in the forum, however, his attitude towards judicial fairness can be seen from how he had managed the labor activist, Li Wangyang’s case during his post as the Hunan Provincial Party Secretary.
In June 2012, former Tiananmen protest activist and victim, Li Wangyang, was “suicided.” Local authorities of Hunan Province suppressed Li’s families and friends, and supporters. Attorney Tang Jingling’s whole family has also been harassed by the authorities for his investigation of Li Wangyang’s case.
Interview & Edit/LiYun Post-Production/SunNing