Wednesday, July 9, 2014

China Holds "1st Ever" Think Tank Summit?

If you thought China spying on US think tank scholars was the only relationship that China had with think tanks, well, we don't blame you, but think again.

China, which has 426 think tanks, is hungry to ramp up and diversify its own think tanks.

China recently held a think tank summit, a two-day Shanghai confab June 25-26 co-hosted by the University of Pennsylvania's Think Tank and Civil Societies Program (TTCSP) and the Shanghai Academy for Social Sciences (SASS).

UPenn claims it was the first-ever think tank summit in China, but it has been pointed out to Think Tank Watch that various think tank "summits" in China have previously been held.  And what about the Sino-African think tank summit last year in Beijing?

In any event, the conference was attended by 28 Chinese think tanks and 24 other organizations representing 15 countries.  The event consisted of three panels: two related to generally improving think tanks around the world, and one China-specific panel.  A list of participants can be found here.

Much of the talk reportedly was about steering away from solely government-affiliated think tank system (as they have in China) and expanding to more universities and independent institutions.

Here is a recent SASS report on the ten most influential think tanks in China.  Interestingly, SASS rated itself at the 9th best think tank in China.

In the annual University of Pennsylvania think tank rankings, the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (CASS) was rated as the best think tank in China, and as the 20th best in the world.

But oddly, under the category for top China think tanks in China, India, Japan, and Korea, the  Chinese Institute for International Studies (CIIS) was rated as the top think tank in China and the 3rd best overall among those countries.