The 2017 China think tank index report: methodology and think tank rankings

By  Gang Li

The building of a new type of think tanks with Chinese characteristics has made policy communities more inclusive and interactive (…)  As a crucial member of any policy community, think tanks can provide a space for policy discussion with Party committees at all levels, the government, academia, and mainstream media.

The China Think Tank Research and Evaluation Center (CTTREC) has completed a landmark book on the current state of Chinese think tanks.  It is the first comprehensive, data driven, transparent rating of Chinese think tanks.

In 2016-2017 CTTREC completed a survey of over 600 Chinese think tanks, gathering data on a wide range of their operations (staffing levels; degree levels of research staff; outputs of all kinds, including so-called ‘internal references’; information on conferences held, etc.).  The Center developed an innovative index to rate Chinese think tanks and using the index did ratings for a variety of sub-populations.  There is a good deal of description of the individual factors accounting for “success.”  There is plenty of descriptive data.

The book opens with a brief history of think tanks in the country and explores the various forms of government enabling actions at all levels directed at think tanks.

Gang Li is a Professor at Nanjing University in the Department of Information Management and the Deputy Director of the China Think Tank Center for Research and Evaluation at Nanjing University.