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East Asian Collection

The Internet and Chinese Law Materials

Bick-har Yeung
University of Melbourne

A paper prepared for the 18th IALL Course of International Law Librarianship  "Australasian Law and Librarianship", Old Treasury Building, Melbourne, Australia, 12-16 September 1999

*What is the Internet?
*Internet development in China
*Coding Systems for Chinese documents
*CJK Softwares
*Search engines
*Internet and  Chinese Law Materials

* Chinese characters = Big5 code

This paper attempts using Internet as a means to access and explore information and resources all around the world for Chinese law materials. Topics discussed cover the Internet development in China, Chinese character coding system, Chinese softwares,  search engines and some useful  Chinese Studies WWW sites for research purposes. It is intended for people who use the Internet for research, and would like to gain more knowledge on the Chinese law resources provided by the Internet.

 What is the Internet?
The Internet is a network of networks, linking computers to computers. These computers include government supercomputers, campus wide  information systems, local area networks and individual workstations. The Internet itself does not contain information. It is not located in one place and  the computers that are connected to the Internet are distributed throughout the world. These computers are connected to each other by data lines and they can send information to each other because they all use the same protocol software. Computer links to the Internet allows each of us to share information and resources such as government documents, electronic publications, online books, media publishing,  images, computer software, bibliographic and  full-text databases. Internet is an useful tool for distance learning, looking up factual information,  researching topics, networking with colleagues and friends, conducting business transactions worldwide, and for personal entertainment.

Among the services provided by Internet, the World Wide Web (WWW or "the Web") is the largest, fastest growing activity. Through the WWW, internet users can view images, look at film clips, hear sound recordings, and find information on many interests. The Web's hypertext documents allow users to move from one document to another by selecting highlighted links to access related Internet sources. Netscape and Internet Explorer are  two of the popular WWW graphic browsers that allow users to  images, films and sound via the Internet.

This paper attempts using Internet as a means to access and explore information and resources all around the world for Chinese law materials. Topics discussed cover the Internet development in China, Chinese character coding system, Chinese softwares,  search engines and some useful  Chinese Studies WWW sites for research purposes. It is intended for people who use the Internet for research, and would like to gain more knowledge on the Chinese law resources provided by the Internet. The information included in this paper  is based on the author's  experience in providing Information Literacy Program for Chinese Studies postgraduates and faculty members in the University of Melbourne Library and using Internet resources as part of the author's everyday routine. Some parts in this paper are extracted from my other paper presented at the biennial conference of the Chinese Studies Association of Australia at Murdoch entitled " The Internet and Chinese Studies Resources"(

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Internet Development  in China

The first direct link from Mainland China to the Internet was established in 1993 at the Institute of High Energy Physics (IHEP), Chinese Academy of Science (CAS) and was formally connected to the internet via IHEP in March 1994. Along the growth of economy in China and it's government new policy to open to the outside world, there are tremendous growth of telecommunications in recent years which provides a matrix for the development of the Internet in China. China Internet Network Information Center reported that there were a total of 2.1 million Internet users and 18396 Internet sites in China as of December 1998. Of which, 76% are commercial users and education users only has 3%. Distributions of the subject areas are as follows:

The above graph is taken from "Development and statistical Report of China  Internet (1/1999) "  ('cnnic/p1_1.htm)

In Taiwan, the number of Internet users reached 2.27 million in August 1998. Of these, 0.77 million are academic subscribers, the rest are commercial users. Both Internet development in China and Taiwan are expanding rapidly.

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Coding Systems for Chinese documents
Chinese scripts are stored in codes in the computer system. Big5, EACC, GB, HZ and Unicode are the popular coding systems for Chinese character sets. It is briefly described  below:
Big5      ¤j¤­½X  EACC   ¤¤¤éÁú½X  GB      °ê¼Ð½X  HZ   º~¦r½X
  • Unicode 
  • -2-byte encoding . 
    -Standard Traditional Chinese characters. 
    -Widely used in HK, Taiwan & elsewhere.
    - 4 byte encoding . 
    - Chinese, Japanese & Korean characters. 
    -Widely used in Library systems, eg. INNOPAC.
    -2-byte encoding . 
    -PRC standard code 
    -Chinese simplified characters. 
    -Widely used in PRC, Singapore & elsewhere.
    -7-bit encoding . 
    -GB Code standard. 
    -Used in Chinese newsgroups on the internet.
    -2-byte encoding 
    - unifying identical characters from different variants of the same script. 
    -cover all the scripts in the world. 
     For details of Chinese coding system, please refer to:
    (1) Notes on CJK Character Codes and Encodings, Ross Paterson , 1995
    (2) Chinese Coding system, James Seng.

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    Chinese-Japanese-Korean Softwares downloading

    To view Chinese character display on the computer, Internet users are required to install Chinese softwares onto their computers. Nowadays, there are many Chinese softwares available from the Internet for trialling and ordering.  Listed below are some popular Chinese softwares used in the English Windows platform:
    Twinbridge (  Âù¾ô 
    Products Input Methods Character codes Support Demo Version for Download
    Chinese Partner Version 4.98  Pinyin and Zhuyin BIG5/GB, BIG5 Plus and GBK.   60 days free  trial 
    AsianBridge  Includes TwinBridge's  Super Pinyin and Zhuyin Input Methods and built-in 60,000 phrase dictionary  Chinese: Big5, GB, HZ, etc. Japanese: JIS/EUC, etc. 
    Korean: KSC
    30 days free trial 
    Asian Viewer Not available Chinese: Big5, GB, HZ. Japanese: JIS/EUC 
    Korean: KSC
    30 days free trial
    NJWIN Star ( «n·¥ ¬P 
     Download of software ( 
    Products Input Methods Character codes support Demo Version for Download
    NJStar Communicator 2.1 
    PinYin, ZhuYin, ShuangPin, Cangjie , Radical lookup... Enable to view CJK text with automatic code detection: 
    Chinese:GB, GBK, Big5, Unicode, HZ-8, HZ-7, etc. 
    Japanese :S-JIS, EUC-JIS, New-JIS, Unicode, etc.    Korean:KSC, Unicode, etc. 
    With a powerful Universal Code Convertor which convert in between all the CJK coding schemes 
    30 days free trial
    NJWIN CJK-viewer 1.68 
    Not available Standard CJK codes 
    Converts simplified Chinese to traditional Chinese 
    30 days free trial
    Star + Globe ( 
    Products Input methods Character codes Support Demo version for download
    WinMASS 2000 CJK Chinese: 
    Hanyu Pinyin, Cang jie, Zhuyin Fuhao, Jianyi Bushou, 
    English-to-Chinese, Stroke Number, Wade Giles, Internal Code (GB2312) 
    Japanese Korean 
    Supports various double-byte character sets (DBCS) and the Unicode  Standard (UTF-8 and UTF-7), including USMarc and EACC which are used by    Library-based systems.  14 days of evaluation copy .
    For more information on CJK softwares, please refer to: 
     How to read Chinese in non-Chinese MS-Windows ( 
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    Search Engines

    The Internet has become a vast, global storehouse of information. The only problem is:  how do you find what you're looking for?  Search engines index  each word within internet documents. When internet users pose a query to a search engine, it matches the query words versus the records it has in its databases. The search service responds by giving  a list of all the Web  pages in its index relating to those topics. The most relevant content will appear at the top of the results. Below are some useful and popular search engines for searching Chinese web sites.

    Nihao Directory - Law  §A¦n(
         - Provides English and Chinese version
         - A Yahoo style subject directory in GB code
         - Supports Chinese simplified character search
         - Links to English search engines: Yahoo, AltaVista, Excite, etc.
         - Links to useful legislation-related China law web pages.

    Whatsite - Law  «z¶ë¤¤¤åºô  (
         -A search engine for Chinese web sites
        - Supports Big5, GB codes and English
        - Supports traditional and simplified character search
        - Provides several levels of searches, standard search, free text search, near search and Boolean search.
        - Links to 84 Law pages in Taiwan

    Yahoo Chinese - Law ( )
        - Provides Chinese Big5 and GB version.
        - Supports Chinese character search
        - Provides links to Yahoo Taiwan, Yahoo Hong Kong and Yahoo Singapore and linking sites in Chinese all over the world
        - Yahoo Chinese provides searchable subject directory, particularly useful for looking up regional information
        - A useful search directory for China law by category

    Zhaodaole - Law §ä¨ì°Õ (
        -Provides Chinese and English version
        -Provides searchable subject directory in GB code
        -Supports Chinese simplified character search
        - Provides useful links to legislated-related law web pages in China and Hong Kong
        -Provides links to download Chinese software from the internet

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    Internet and  Chinese Law Materials
    In this paper, it is aiming at to provide free Chinese law resources available from the Internet. These materials are full text law databases, law journals, newspapers, government gazetteers and new publications. On the other hand, there are links to Chinese Studies Internet guides, bibliographic databases, online libraries for Internet users  searching more law-related information.

    Legislation-related resources

    China Law Databases (
    It is a sub-page of  Law-On-Line / Asia-Pacific On-Line. It contains four databases for free access. These databases are useful resources for Chinese Law. The databases are in Chinese GB Code.
    (1) Beijing Law  ¥_¨Ê¦a¤è©Êªk³W
        It is a searchable full text database of local Beijing law.
    (2) Law periodical Contents ¤¤°êªk«ß´Á¥Z¥Ø¿ý (
         It is a searchable index to three major Chinese law journals: Zhongguo fa xue ¤¤°êªk¾Ç ;  Fa xue yan jiu ªk¾Ç¬ã¨s         and ¬Fªk½×¾Â. Boolean search is provided for types of law and publication date.
    (3) Government Reorts ¤u§@³ø§i (
        Under this category, It provides reports of the following areas:
            Government Reports ¬F©²¤u§@³ø§i,  1987-96
            Report of the People's Congress ¥þ°ê¤H¤j±`©e·|¤u§@³ø§i     ,1986-96
            Report of the Supreme Court ³Ì°ª¤H¥Áªk°|¤u§@³ø§i, 1986-96
            Report of the People's Porcuratorates  ³Ì°ª¤H¥ÁÀ˹î°|¤u§@³ø§i, 1986-1996
    (4)  Chinese Legal and Social Statistics ¥qªk¤ÎªÀ·|²Î­p¸ê®Æ  , 81-94                                                                         (

    The Internet Law Library  (
    It is a sub-page of Law Revision Counsel, U.S. House of Representatives, USA . It provides rich and useful links to laws in China, Taiwan, Tibet and Hong Kong. The language is in English.
     (1) Internet Law Library - China   (
          It contains Laws of China, Taiwan and Tibet in the areas of Constitution, commercial law and human rights practice, etc..
     (2) Internet Law Library -Hong Kong (
         It contains Basic law of Hong Kong, Court of final appeal decision and human rights practice, etc.

    Government Information Centre Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the People's Republic of China
    This page contains information of Hong Kong, the  Hong Kong Government and its related organisations.  It is in English and Chinese. It is an important web page for the Laws of Hong Kong. Sub-pages related to law include :
    (1) Basic Law  °ò¥»ªk ( It contains the full text of the Basic law of Hong Kong.
    (2) Judiciary   ¥qªk¾÷ ºc(
    (3) Legislative Council, Hong Kong  ­» ´ä¥ß ªk ·| ,  ( . It contains Laws of the Council and Bills since 1998.
    (3) Department of Justice «ß¬F¥q(
         This sub-page includes the legal systems of Hong Kong  ( and the Laws  of Hong Kong databases (

    Development of the Internet for Asian Law  (DIAL) (
    It provides links to legislation-related resources on the Internet from many countries including China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, and search the full text of these  resources.
    (1) China - Peoples Republic (
        This page covers the following legislation-related area in China: The Courts,  Education,  Intellectual Property, Lawyers, Parliament, Legislation.
    (2) Hong Kong,China (,China/index.html)
        It provides links to the following area in Hong Kong: Courts, Intellectual, Legislation, Privacy, Education, Law Reform, Parliament and Treaties.
    (3) Taiwan (Taipei, China) (,_China)/index.html)
         This page covers Courts, Parliament and Legislation of Taiwan.

    Legal Data Bank, Taiwan, Republic of China (
    It is a very useful  full text database of Taiwan Laws including its constitutions and legal system. The database is in Chinese Big5 code.

    The Chinalaw Web (
    The Chinalaw Web is sponsored in part by the China Law Society, an academic organization for the   promotion of the study of Chinese law at the University of Maryland School of Law.  It is to provide information about Chinese law and the legal system in  greater China. The Chinalaw Web includes an in-depth analysis of the four different legal jurisdictions in                China; the People's Republic of China (PRC), the Republic of China on Taiwan (ROC), the Hong Kong  Special administrative Region (SAR) of the People's Republic of China, and the Portuguese Colony of  Macau. The site includes translations of Chinese laws and regulations from mainland China (PRC) and  Taiwan (ROC), Hong Kong SAR law, and Macau Law, as well as over thirty legal articles on various topics related to Chinese law.
     China Law Info ¥_¤j ªk  ªk«ß  «H  ®§  ºô   (
    This page was entitled "Chinalaw" and changed to its current title since September 1999. It is maintained by the Law School of Peking University. It is the best China law web site developed in China. It covers covers People's Congress, Courts, government organisations,  Popular China laws, Special topics, Law education, Law journals, Internet China law resources, Legal firms in China, Fulltext China Law database and Current contents of law journals published by Peking University. It provides link its old page Chinalaw in which has Contents and Index of China Government Gazetteers.

    People's daily Online ¤H¥Á¤é³ø(
    It contains 16 full text current daily newspapers and popular journals published in China. The system supports Big 5 and GB codes. Archives files are dated back to 1997.  Searches are available using Chinese, English and Japanese JIS. However searches in English and Japanese provide the news headlines in the searched language.
    Chinese Law Journals and Newspaper
         Renmin gongan bao ¤H¥Á¤½¦w³ø( )
         Law journal current contents  Falu kanwu yaomu  ªk«ß¥Zª«­n¥Ø (
         Peking University Law Journal  Zhongwai faxue  ¤¤¥~ªk¾Ç , 1997-98                                (
         Legal Daily Online ªk¨î¤é³ø ( 1999-

    Book news
    (1) Joint Publishing Company Hong Kong - Law book news ¤TÁpªk«ß®Ñ±M½u (
     It is an annotated bibliography of new law materials published in China.
    (2) China International Book Trading Company - Law book news ¤¤°ê°ê»Ú®Ñ©±: ªk«ß®ÑÃþ (
    It is a list of China law materials provided bibliographic details for purchasing purpose.
    Internet Guides for China Studies - Law ( the China WWW Virtual Library.
    This page is maintained by Hanno Lecher, University of Heidelberg, Germany.  The page is part of the Asian Studies WWW Virtual Library which provides comprehensive links to China Studies mainly  in the areas of arts and humanities, arranged in the order Library of  Congress Classification Scheme. Links are ranked and it is an important page for China law hompages . Highly recommended as a starting point of research.

    Council on East Asian Libraries (CEAL) (
    This  page is maintained by CEAL. It provides information guides to China, Japan, South Korea, North Korea, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Macau and Asia in general.  Under each country, there are links to law home pages. It also provides links to other US East Asian library collections. Highly recommended.

    Chinese Studies WWW Virtual Library - Law (
    This page is maintained by Bick-har Yeung, University of Melbourne Library. This page is specially tailored for the research and teaching needs of China law at the University of Melbourne  Highly recommended to the students of the University of Melbourne.

    Bibliographic databases

    Kinetica CJK Catalogue (
    Kinetica CJK Catalogue is a national bibliographic database for Chinese, Japanese and Korean materials. It is available to users via library subscription. It helps library users to search for CJK material held in  their library as well as other libraries in Australia, using CJK characters, romanisation in Pinyin   in their search terms and seeing CJK characters in their search results. The database contains 1 million bibliographic records and  312,000 items of library holding data. It is an important online bibliographic tool for compiling bibliography in CJK languages and  for obtaining holding information for interlibrary loans.

    Online libraries

    Online Libraries ( )
    This page is  maintained by Darrell Dorrington, Australian National University. It provides links to library online catalogues in China, Hong Kong, Macau, Singapore, Taiwan and other significant international Chinese collections. Internet connections to mainland and Taiwan sometimes is very slow.  It is very useful for searching for Chinese materials for interlibrary loan purposes. The Fung Ping Shan Collection of the University of Hong Kong Libraries under HK,  Hytelnet HK list is a good collection to start with when looking for Chinese resources outside Australia.

    East Asian Collection and Libraries - CEAL (
    This page is maintained by CEAL. It provides links to major American East Asian library collections, among which the Harvard Yenching Library Collection is one of the best Chinese research collections in the US.

    European Sinological Libraries (
    This page is maintained by Matthias Kaun and is a sub-page of the European Association of Sinological Librarians. It provides links to major European Sinological libraries, including Great Britain.

    Library of Congress (
    The Chinese Collection of the Library of Congress is the largest Chinese collection outside China.  It is a web-based online catalogue. Chinese character display is not supported. Wade-Giles romanisation is adopted in the database.

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    Chinese Internet resources developed in Mainland China and Taiwan was slower in developing Internet communications. The existing barriers affecting Internet users daily are described as follows:
    (1) Slow response time :  Accessing Taiwan and Mainland web pages from Australia is very slow . Both China and Taiwan should improve their Internet communications to meet the Internet demands.
    (2) Changes of URLs: China web pages tend to change URLs frequently and new URLs are not indexed.  It  has been a problem for web page maintainers and Internet users to access the new URLs.
    (3) Search functions : A lot of searchable databases and search engines only provide a simple search function , some full text databases have no search function at all. This makes it very difficult for Internet users  to search for relevant information for their research topics.

    Accessing the Internet is quick and and handy. In recent years there have been more global projects on web-based Chinese law databases, and  more legislation-related Chinese web pages. The Internet is a breakthrough in the dissemination of information. Keyword and Boolean searching provides timely and accurate matching.  Internet documents can be downloaded or printed in the office without visiting the library. However, it is difficult to catch up with the growth speed with the Internet resources and also to judge what are useful for the Internet users. As a result,  Chinese librarians or law librarians have to work harder to keep themselves up to date  with what's new in these areas.

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    Chinese Coding system, James Seng. (
    Browsing and searching Internet Resources (
    Development and statistical Report of China  Internet (1/1999) "  ('cnnic/p1_1.htm)
    Highlights of Internet Development in R.O.C. , Fall 1998(
    The Internet and Chinese Studies Resources", Bick-har Yeung.  (
    Notes on CJK Character Codes and Encodings, Ross Paterson , 1995

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    © The University of Melbourne 1994-1999. Disclaimer and Copyright Information. 
    Created: by Bick-har Yeung, 1st July 1999
    Last modified: by Bick-har Yeung, 3rd August 1999
    Authorised by: Tim Meredith, Mary Coghlan, Information ServicesCopyright: @1999 The University of Melbourne
    Maintainer: Bick-har Yeung , East Asian Collection