In yet another blow to transparency, China has again started geo-blocking Americans and other foreigners from accessing the Supreme People’s Court (SPC) website. China previously geo-blocked the SPC website in November 2022. Attempting to access this site leads to a 403 Forbidden error message with “reason:GeoBL.” However, the more-limited English version of the SPC’s website remains available, making it appear not to be a technical error. Chinese websites for the China National Intellectual Property Administration, the National People’s Congress, China Judgements Online and the Supreme People’s Procuratorate, among others, remain accessible. Note though China Judgements Online requires registration with a Chinese phone number.
This is an inconvenience for those seeking judicial clarity in Chinese intellectual property cases. For example, China’s SPC recently released the 2023 People’s Courts Typical Anti-Monopoly and Anti-Unfair Competition Cases but the list and SPC’s explanations of cases are not directly accessible to foreigners.
Workarounds may include reading social media postings from the SPC and subscribing to a VPN with a server in mainland China.