Earlier anecdotal evidence suggests that judicially-developed doctrines, concepts, principles, norms and practices are disseminated not only downwards, but also upwards and horizontally, among Chinese courts. Methodologically, however, the rejection of the common law notion of precedents by China’s civil law tradition has rendered any attempt to quantitatively track the dissemination of legal information an unrewarding exercise. The spread – and citations by mistake – of a non-existent judicial interpretation across all four levels of the Chinese judiciary has offered a rare window into the diffusion of law in China. Our research presents a first quantitative data-based evidence that hierarchical relationships between courts – top down, bottom up and horizontal – are at work in channeling information in the Chinese judiciary, particularly at the basic and intermediate levels. Another original contribution of our research is that it empirically demonstrates the role of cultural and geographical bonds in facilitating the dissemination of information among Chinese courts. Overall, our research provides fresh evidence for the presence of a robust, professional community of Chinese courts and judges, wherein novel laws, norms, information and practices flow and come to influence decision making.