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12 Jun 2015

Alexandra Harney, Reuters

Pollution trial offers rare glimpse into a Chinese courtroom

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...The first day of [Meilun] Chemical's trial was a window into how one local government is interpreting Chinese president Xi Jinping's call for a stronger rule of law and tougher environmental enforcement...environmental lawyers hailed Hengdong court's acceptance of the case as progress. In the past, Chinese courts have refused to hear controversial pollution cases...Beijing has been trying to make its judicial system more transparent...Judgments are increasingly posted online and some courts have started to stream proceedings live and post on social media. In 2013, a Chinese court used Weibo...to broadcast the proceedings of the trial of fallen politician Bo Xilai...Of the more than 50 families who originally agreed to participate in the lawsuit, only 13 remained by the trial. Some of these dropped out under government pressure, according to Hu Shaobo, one of the plaintiffs' lawyers. Dapu authorities deny any such interference...