Chinese policymakers have been left searching for answers to the trade war with the US because the domestic think tanks Beijing has called on for guidance have provided “filtered information” to avoid offending supervisors, sources close to the Chinese government and diplomatic observers said.
Beijing’s researchers also have been hamstrung by government restrictions on foreign travel that have limited the ability to devise a suitable response to the aggressive trade moves made by the administration of US President Donald Trump, the sources said.
In the six months since the US slapped punitive 25 per cent tariffs on US$50 billion of goods imported from mainland China, Beijing officials have been frustrated as the think tank experts being consulted for advice on a response only serve their backers’ interests, people involved in the consultations told the South China Morning Post.
In some cases, the experts had done insufficient research on the matter, the people said.
“Although the think tanks are all government-affiliated, their stances vary sharply,” a source said.
The article notes that in order to bolster its US research, the Chinese Ministry of Finance set up an alliance of 20 think tanks in July. More information about that effort, called the "U.S. Research Think Tank Alliance," can be found here and here.