Local courts in Beijing have begun to use computers more widely when handling cases in an attempt to enhance efficiency and fairness.
The new building of the Beijing Haidian District People's Court has become the city's first computerized local court to do so.
It is located in northern Beijing's Haidian District, which is famous for its high-tech firms and many universities.
At the new building's hall for filing cases, people first get a queue number from a machine and can see information on a screen about the situation in the reception rooms.
The court's computer center automatically calculates statistics relating to the lawsuits that are placed on file for prosecution, including how many are criminal cases and how many are civil ones, said Wang Zhenfeng, the court vice-president.
Wang said people may not necessarily have go to court to file a case in the future. "We are considering doing case filing via the Internet," he said.
A screen outside every court room will tell people which case is being heard here. All that other courts have at the moment is a notice on a screen outside to tell people which case is in session, without any details.
The Haidian court has also started opening its doors to the general public during holidays.
The first open days were last Saturday and Sunday, when some 40 residents visited, including university students and armed police officers.
Other local residents will be allowed to visit the court once every two months in the future, said court sources.
Zhu Jiang, the court's president, said: "People involved in lawsuits only make up a very small part of the whole population in our district, so it is important to provide a way for residents to gain a good understanding of the court and of how to handle a lawsuit."
(China Daily August 19, 2003)