Social Court Reporting

The Bo Xilai case in China has been more like a reality TV show than a criminal trial. Seriously I feel like I should be texting in ‘SAVE BO’ to 191 545.

The former Conhquing party politician is being charged with bribery, corruption and abuse of power.

The media spectacular has attracted millions of followers online. All glued to the minute-by-minute proceedings published live on this SinaWiebo microblogging page.  (Note: This site is in Chinese)

Now I’m not too sure how many of you have actually ever read a fraud case but the legal concepts are really pretty dry. Don’t believe me? Try this case out.

If all trials were run like this (especially fraud cases) they would be so much more exciting!

But is this really the future of court reporting in China?

Some such as Professor Tong Zewie believe this is a breakthrough and will lead to more open trials in China. He believes this case will set precedent for the future and hopes that China is led away from the judicial corruption which it has historically been plagued with.

However, others are not so convinced with sceptics voicing their opinion that the Chinese government is just attempting to create a sense of transparency for political reasons.

The main criticism is that the Chinese government has only chosen this case because of the strong resentment towards Xilai from Chinese citizens. Therefore the likely incarceration and the trial in itself is not likely the cause political controversy.

Some even go further, such as this feisty blog, which argues that the trial is merely a PR stunt.

Only time will tell but hopefully this is a step for China towards the right to a fair trial and a wider application of the rule of law.