Article on Blogging by Chinese Judges

Professor Anne Sy Cheung’s article in the Harvard International Law Journal includes a couple of interesting findings that merit further investigation.

On page 267 of the article, Prof. Sy Cheung writes:
“While Blogging by judges may be an unusual phenomenon in common law countries, it is not unusual in China. In fact, more than half of the bloggers in this study wrote in their real names.”

Table 1 of the article breaks down the content of blog postings by Chinese judges.  Nearly 34% of the blog postings related to legal research.

Appendix IV lists the most common legal research question asked by the judges:

1. Copies of laws, regulations, and rules as well as comments on them.
2. Comments and opinions on draft legislation.
3. Criticizing the Rules of Payment of Court Fees issued by the State Council in December 2006.
4. Researches on a broad range of topics, such as compensations for damages to person happened in schools, the principle of innocence, problems of the Property Law of the PRC, role of the procuratorate, land system and land reform, citizens’ rights and freedom, real estate development and house transactions, labor disputes including payment of wages and salaries, and compensation for damages to accidents at work, and introduction of the spiritual compensation to civil suits collateral to criminal proceedings (some of these researches have been published in journals by the writer, blog owner).
5. Discussions on the tradition of Chinese culture and law.
6. Copies of court decisions that have come to effect.
7. Judicial interpretations issued by the Supreme People’s Court.
8. Routine work of the courts.
9. Introduction of Western legal theory, thought, and practice.
10. Questions and answers for various post-followers.

Exercising Freedom of Speech Behind the Great Firewall : A Study of Judges’ and Lawyers Blogs in China
Harvard International Law Journal
Vol. 52 , April 2011
http://www.harvardilj.org/2011/04/online_52_cheung/

In you are interested in legal research issues in China, don’t forget about the Chinese and American Forum on Legal Information and Law Libraries Conference in Philadelphia in July. Information on program sessions and speakers is available at
http://cafllnet.org/annual-conference/

UK MPs and the Use of Twitter

Microblogging, Constituency Service and Impression Mangaement: UK MPs and the Use of Twitter.

Nigel Jackson and Darren Lilleker

17 Journal of Legislative Studies 86 (March 2011)

Abstract:

Twitter, a microblogging site which allows users to deliver statements, thoughts and links in 140 characters to followers as well as a wider Internet audience, is the latest online communications technology adopted by MPs. Assessing the use of early adopters, this article considers which MPs are most likely to use Twitter (e.g. tweeting), and how. Content analysis of tweeting MPs was conducted, and identified personal and political characteristics which may influence use. The data suggested that of the six characteristics tested, gender, party and seniority had most impact on adoption. Applying Jones and Pittman’s (1982) typology there is clear evidence that MPs use Twitter as a tool of impression management. Constituency service is a secondary function of the use of Twitter by MPs. Where MPs use Twitter as part of their constituency role it is to promote their local activity. We note that a small group of MPs use Twitter as a regular communication channel, but most are only occasionally dipping their toe into the microbloggersphere.