Sunday, January 31, 2016

Susan Finder on WeChat Risks and Opportunities

"What you should know about heading a WeChat group"
Susan Finder
South China Morning Post
25 January 2016
WeChat has become an extremely popular way for people in the mainland to communicate, and people (and companies) in Hong Kong use it to reach out to mainland friends and the mainland market.
     A small reminder to those whose names are registered with WeChat: there have been a number of reported criminal cases in which heads of WeChat groups have been prosecuted, although none so far involve people from Hong Kong or people posting on WeChat from Hong Kong. Setting aside the complicated questions of cross-border criminal liability – which require close examination – let’s look at what is set out in the mainland Criminal Law and some recent court reports.
     Users posting on WeChat have been prosecuted under various Criminal Law articles. Some heading a WeChat group have been prosecuted under Article 364 of the Criminal Law, and its related judicial interpretation by the Supreme People’s Court and Procuratorate, punishing the dissemination of obscene materials... Click here to read the article.

Susan Finder
Supreme People's Court Monitor (blog)
31 January 2016
Wechat, as most people with an interest in China know, has become the preferred form of social media in China. The legal community in China has taken to it too. 
     Some are official accounts of government entities, including the courts and others are public accounts (公众账号) established by companies, law firms, individuals, and other organizations. Ir Each has its benefits for the user located outside of China. 
     To access these public accounts, it does not matter where in the world you are located, but you need a smart phone to install the Wechat app. The accounts can be accessed through “search official accounts” or “Add contacts” and typing in either the Wechat ID or the name of the account. The accounts can also be accessed through computer or table as well, by searching for the account in question. 
     The official government accounts enable the user to keep current on the issues and latest government position in that area of law–new policy, new legislation, and new reforms. The Supreme People’s Court, for example, has one, as does the Supreme People’s Procuratorate, as well as their local counterparts. 
     Another category is the less official public accounts. Some are affiliated with official organizations, while others are not, while others are in a grey area. The writing tends to be aimed at the professional, with less bureaucratic language. Some accounts are aimed at practicing lawyers, more focused on civil and commercial law than criminal law or administrative law, but both can be found. Some accounts publish writings by the account holder, while others accept articles submitted by followers. One very popular type of article is one that reviews the law and cases in a particular area of law... Click here to read the article.  Susan Finder is a Visiting Fellow of the Centre for Chinese Law.

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