Bigger roles for Chinese think tanks

26 October 2012
SERIES Think tanks in China 11 items

Hu Yongii of China Daily has written an article on how the period of transition that the Chinese government is currently undergoing has expanded Chinese think tanks’ role, by being more frequently consulted by government officials and agencies. Think tanks offer advice on their specialty subject to the National People’s Congress, and they also propose innovative ideas for local governments to implement policies and to apply said policies to other parts of the country if possible.

For example, the Institute of Population and Labor Economics of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences is conducting research on the complexities of the country’s workforce, particularly the differences between the urban and rural workforce and what is needed in the social security system. These types of institutions feel that their increasing involvement signifies that the Communist Party is now taking into account a wider array of opinions and sources as part of their decision making process.

Major think tanks usually submit the results of their research to the general office of the State Council and the general office of the Communist Party’s Central Committee. Some institutions are now taking very seriously their decision consultation role with the state. CASS, for instance, established the Institute of Information and Intelligence in 2011 to streamline communications with the central government. Think tanks believe that a genuine interest in their research has emerged among public officials:

Years ago, when we had to submit reports to the general office of the State Council, only a few suggestions reached the top leadership, because those the secretariat thought had little value were simply dropped, said the Chinese Academy of Governance (GAG)’s Zhang Zhanbin.

This attitude seems to have taken quite a turn:

Now the situation has changedMu Haiping, director of the department of decision-making and consultation at CAG, and his department collect the suggestions and present them directly to the offices of the top leaders. Since 2008, more than 25 percent of the 400 suggestions submitted by Mu and his department have been accepted and forwarded to the relevant ministries.