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.
Some of the legal public accounts that I follow (or are highly recommended by those that I know) are listed below. The list has now updated with further information provided by a 31 January article in Empire Lawyers and Lawread on the top 10 public accounts. Please use the comment function (or email me) to suggest additional accounts.
- Arbitration: Wechat ID: cnarb1, account of Lin Yifei, mentioned in an earlier blogpost. I highly recommend it to both practitioners and others interested in arbitration.
- Labor law:Wechat ID: laodongfaku (劳动法库) (with over 200,000 followers (this is mentioned in Empirelawyers top 10; Wechat ID: ldfview （子非鱼说劳动法);
- Civil law 海坛特哥 (haitanlegal), account of Chen Te, formerly of the Beijing Higher People’s Court, now a lawyer (高衫legal) [his earlier posts focused on medical law], Wechat ID: gaoshanlegal; 审判研究, Wechat ID: spyjweixin; 法客帝国， Wechat ID: Empirelawyers; 审判研究, Wechat ID: msspck.
- Criminal law: 辩护人 (bianhuren1993); 刑事实务, Wechat ID: xingshishiwu, with over 200,00 followers; 刑事审判参考 Wechat ID: criminailaw.
- Judiciary: There are many, among them are: 法影斑斓 , account of He Fan, judge in the judicial reform office of the Supreme People’s Court, Wechat ID: funnylaw1978 and JunnyLaw (JunnyLaw1977) the newly established account of Jiang Qiang, a judge in the #1 Civil Division of the Supreme People’s Court, so far, articles focusing on civil law issues.
- Civil litigation, 天同诉讼圈, Wechat ID: tiantongsusong (in the top 10), established by Tian Tong & Partners), with over 250,000 followers;
- International law: Wechat ID: ciil 2015 国际法促进中心
- IP law–知识产权那点事, Wechat ID: IPR888888. The posting of 30 January, for example, includes the Supreme People’s Court judgment 11 January in its retrial of the Castel wine trademark infringement case and an article on indirect infringements of copyright on the Internet.
- Aggregators/General–智和法律新媒体, Wechat ID: zhihedongfang; 法律博客, Wechat ID: falvboke, 法律读品， Wechat ID: lawread, 尚格法律人, wechat ID: falvren888 (followed by at least 130,000 legal professionals). 法律读库 Wechat ID: lawreaders, followed by 500,000 (in top 10); 法律讲堂, Wechat ID: yunlvshi, established by a partner with the Yingke Law Firm (also listed among the top 10).
This linked article written by Chen Te discusses how legal professionals can market themselves through a public account as well as some of the issues of having a public account.