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A case involving 26 executives of a Chinese online peer-to-peer (P2P) lender is heard before Beijing No. 1 Intermediate People's Court in September 2017. Photo: Xinhua

Tencent’s WeChat messaging platform adopted by Beijing court for case filing

Tencent operated app has evolved into the country’s largest social network with 980 million monthly active users


A day after being used in a pilot programme to replace state government issued IDs, Tencent Holdings’ WeChat, the ubiquitous social media application in China, has been adopted by Beijing Court as a means for people to file lawsuits electronically.

Parties in a legal case can submit documents, verify their identification and pay legal fees through the WeChat prosecution service platform operated by Beijing Haidian court, according to a report by the official Xinhua news agency on Monday.

“It saves time for the parties when resubmitting materials and lining up in banks to make payments. The parties will receive a notice via WeChat after the required materials are successfully filed,” Dai Guo, director of the political office of Beijing Court, was quoted by Xinhua as saying.

While electronic filing of court documents is not new, China’s move to allow lawsuits to be filed using social media platforms is a new development, and would be akin to Americans being able to sue each other using Twitter or Facebook.

The service platform uses character recognition technology for document scanning and facial recognition for ID verification, Dai said. It is also connected with information centres for China’s household registration system, which officially records all resident information including full name and date of birth.

The combination of facial recognition and ID card verification will guarantee the identification process is accurate and efficient, according to information posted on the official website of China’s Supreme People’s Court.

The WeChat prosecution service signals that the message app is expanding its reach to official government applications after its wide acceptance in the daily lives of Chinese people for everything from online payments to car hailing services.

WeChat, officially launched in 2011 and known as weixin in mainland China, has evolved into the country’s largest social network with 980 million monthly active users in the quarter ended September 30, according to Shenzhen-based Tencent.

As well as the new WeChat prosecution service, the app was already being used as an official virtual ID, replacing the traditional Chinese ID card.

On Monday, the Guangzhou provincial government launched a pilot programme for a virtual ID card, which serves the same purpose as the traditional state-issued ID cards, through the WeChat accounts of registered users in the city’s Nansha district.

This article appeared in the South China Morning Post print edition as: WeChat app adopted forlawsuits by Beijing court