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Virtual reality technology applied in court hearing in China

The much-touted virtual reality technology has been adopted in criminal proceedings in China, after its wide use in gaming and sightseeing.

Recently, the Beijing's No. 1 Intermediate People's Court opened a court session for the criminal case, in which a 30-year-old suspect surnamed Zhang stabbed his 19-year-old girlfriend to death in an office building in Beijing's Haidian district last September due to romantic entanglement, with a man surnamed Dong being the only person to witness the crime, according to a report by the Legal Evening, a Beijing-based newspaper.

Dong, who is a colleague of the victim, was asked to wear a virtual reality headset and handle a console to replicate the crime scene he saw, which was simultaneously projected on a big screen in the courtroom, said the report.

"At the time, I was standing behind the victim surnamed Liu. Zhang was asking something from Liu. After a while, Zhang started injuring himself with a knife," said Dong, who testified that Zhang self-mutilated with three stabs before he stabbed his girlfriend on the neck in the midst of spats, while using the console to explore the simulated environment.

The adoption of the virtual reality technology is a part of what is called the "Courtroom Evidence Visualization System", which is developed by the Beijing Municipal People's Procuratorate. It is the first time for China's courts to use the virtual reality technology in court hearing.

The "Courtroom Evidence Visualization System", which includes a projection and a powerful computer program, largely helps enhance the efficiency and credibility of court hearing, as a vast majority of Chinese procurators currently present evidences through oral account and Microsoft PowerPoint slideshow.

"The new evidence visualization system can show evidences in a more direct and transparent way," said an officer from the Beijing Municipal People's Procuratorate.

The report said that the "Courtroom Evidence Visualization System" would be soon used by Beijing's courtrooms.

The virtual reality technology has grown as an emerging technology that is already applied in the entertainment industry, activities to popularize science and cultural events.

In 2016, the Palace Museum, which is located in Beijing's Forbidden City, the imperial palace of the Ming and Qing dynasties, used the interactive virtual reality technology at one of its exhibitions for the first time to offer three-dimensional images of the ancient kilns, factories and other buildings in Jingdezhen in southern China, which were set up by the orders of the Ming and Qing dynasty emperors to produce exquisite ceramics. Jingdezhen is dubbed the "porcelain capital" of China.

At the time, domestic media reports said that the Palace Museum staff went to the site to collect data and create a computer-generated three-dimensional configuration of the area's former architecture so that visitors were offered a visual and audio "reconstruction" of how the site would have looked in the ancient times with the help of the virtual reality technology.

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