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The 44th Peking University Private Law and Intellectual Property Lecture was held successfully

On the afternoon of December 11, 2017, the 44th “Peking University Private Law and Intellectual Property Lecture Series” jointly sponsored by the International Intellectual Property Research Center of Peking University, Research Base of National Intellectual Property Strategy Implementation ( PKU ), and the “Private Law” Editorial Office was successfully held in Room 307, Koguan Building, Peking University. The lecture was given by Prof. Benjamin Liebman (Professor Li Ben) from Columbia University School of Law, Prof. He Haibo from School of Law, Tsinghua University, General Manager Zhao Xiaohai from Peking University Yinghua Science and Technology Co., Ltd., Prof. Chang Pengao from Peking University School of Law, Prof. Wang Qinghua from China University of Political Science and Law, Associate Professor Xiaohong Xiao, Department of Political Science, School of Humanities and Social Science, Tsinghua University, Associate Professor Li Xin, Faculty of Law of Kunming University of Science and Technology, and Professor Zhang Qi of the School of Law of Peking University, etc., took part in discussions and delivered speeches. Prof. Liu Chengwei from China University of Political Science and Law, Prof. Liu Yi from Beijing Institute of Technology, Professor Wang Xixin from Peking University, Professor Ge Yunsong, Professor Deng Feng and Prof. Yang Ming attended the lecture. The lecture was moderated and commented by Prof. Yi Jiming of Peking University Law School.


The topic of this lecture is Mass Digitization of Chinese Court Decisions: How to Use Text as Data in the Field of Chinese law. Prof. Li Ben shared the research on the digitization of Chinese court judgment documents by him and his team with us in recent years.



In the fact of that academic circles have paid attention to the openness of China's court judgment documents and limited research on data loopholes, Professor Li Ben and his team have collected and analyzed 1,058,990 judicial documents done by Henan courts in recent years. Prof. Li Ben first introduced his research goals and questions: What kind of data vulnerabilities exist in the databases? What research methods are suitable for big data of court documents and how will these data affect academic research on Chinese legal and legal systems? Prof. Li Ben later pointed out that the digitization of Chinese court judgments not only can deter unlawful acts, improve the status of the court, standardize the verdicts, but also help promote the rapid commercialization of legal information, and carry out artificial intelligence experiments in judicial proceedings. At the same time, Professor Li Ben also pointed out that his research methods and Chinese big data analysis of legal documents also have four limitations.


Professor Li Ben then introduced the data he collected. Prof. Li Ben’s team downloaded 1058990 case files from the website of the Henan High Court, including all available cases before 2015, and categorized and analyzed the key information in the judgments through written natural language processing scripts to check the text structure, statements and identify the key information. The study found that there were problems with incomplete data, and there were differences in the proportion of public documents in different courts. In 2014, among 184 courts in Henan Province, 83% of them opened more, and only 15% of them were old-fashioned and opened little. Prof. Li Ben believes that the Chinese court's rule of undisclosed settlement documents, and the fact that some courts have disclosed cases that should not have been made public, or disclosed the cases that should be made public, caused the existence of differences.


In Professor Li Ben’s study, he analyzed the text of the court decision as data, using the “theme type” model. This model is based on all collected texts, treats all files as a mix of topics, uses a structured theme model package to assess the proportion of topics contained in each file, and identifies possible simultaneous text patterns in an unsupervised machine learning manner.Prof. Li Ben’s team will manually mark each topic after examining the most frequent words and the most representative documents in each topic.


Prof. Li Ben emphasized the value of cross-discipline and the necessity of multi-method research. It should deepen the understanding of data vulnerabilities, combine data analysis with qualitative research, and combine big data with traditional research. At the same time, Prof. Li Ben also noticed the limitations of big data and considered it necessary to be rational.



At the review stage, Prof. Yi Jinming first fully affirmed the research work done by Prof. Li Ben and its contribution to the dataization of Chinese legal documents. Secondly, he analyzed the “personal information” (Article 111), “Intellectual Property” (Article 123) and “Data, Network Virtual Property” (Article 127) concerning data information protection from the “General Principles of Civil Law” and put up with 3 protection ways. Again, he pointed out the limitations of big data, and its parameters, indicators, and evaluation systems actually have a certain degree of subjectivity. Therefore, regression analysis is needed. Fourth, he pointed out that the data king era of security faced some risks such as privacy, personal information protection, and some technical rationality such as ultra-large-scale data companies to the judicial power, etc. In this regard, the system needs to be repaired and regulated . He finally stated that the openness of Chinese court judgment documents in the era of big data is a manifestation of the transparency of justice, and we should be happy to see it as a drum.




The lecture attracted many teachers and students from universities and research institutions, judges, lawyers, corporate legal personnel and related technical personnel in practical circles to come and listen and they discussed with enthusiasm. The lecture lasted more than three hours and ended in a lively discussion with the guests.


Translated by: Tian Tian

Edited by: Ding Jieyao