Weibo And Social Media In China: The Role In The Bo Xilai 'Trial Of The Century' [PHOTOS]

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The second day of the Bo Xilai trial finished on Friday evening in the Chinese city of Jinan, Shandong Province. Foreign and Chinese reporters have arrived in the city in droves, staking out the local court in hopes of getting a scoop on what many are calling the ‘trial of the century.’

Though many believe the trial is merely a formality and a harsh corruption sentence for the former top politician is all but certain, the unique timing and scope of the case has led to particularly unusual (for China) coverage. As the nation adjusts to a global new media revolution, particularly with the introduction of microblogging social media platform Weibo, the government has shown a significant step toward embracing the nation’s most popular form of digital communication.

The proceedings have been dubbed an ‘open trial,’ but the courtroom is open only to media feeds by state-run news outlet Xinhua News Agency, the sole government-approved media outlet for the case. Still, the Jinan courthouse opened its own official Weibo account, effectively disseminating pictures, courtroom transcripts and other relevant information to hundreds of thousands of watchers, instantly -- a move that one expert is saying is especially important. According to Judge Xu Guangwang, Jinan’s Intermediate People’s Court deputy secretary, the move to release up-to-date information on Weibo was significant in showing the public that they have the right to know. According to Chinese newspaper Market Herald, compared to the traditional forms of media release, microblogging is a more direct, interactive and influential way of releasing news that is important to citizens.

Below are images from the digitally-driven Bo Xilai trial coverage.

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Media Coverage of Bo Xilai Journalists in an official media center crowd around a feed of Gu Kailai, convicted murderer and wife of fallen Chinese political leader Bo Xilai, making a statement during the second day of the trial.

Journalists covering Bo Xilai Journalists at the Jinan media center crowd around a single television that carries the official feed of the Bo Xilai trial.

Bo Xilai trial Jinan Courthouse's official Weibo account has been journalists only source of verified information. A picture of Bo Xilai standing during the trial displayed on television's in the media center.

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