Thursday, July 23, 2020

On the Competition of Chinese Think Tanks

Lee Seong-hyon, Director of the Center for Chinese Studies at the Sejong Institute, has a new piece on China's think tanks.  Here are some excerpts:

China's various policy reports go up to the General Office of CPC Central Committee (zhongyang bangongting, abbreviated as "zhongban"). The name CPC stands for Communist Party of China. Zhongban is equivalent to the Office of the President in Korea. The policy report is carefully vetted by officials at zhongban and eventually gets placed on the desk of China's top leader for reading.
It's not easy for a researcher's idea notes to reach zhongban. There is a cutthroat competition among China's think tank scholars and university academics. CICIR is known to have its separate independent channel to reach China's top leadership. One view is that CICIR is under the jurisdiction of the Foreign Affairs Leading Small Group (FALSG), whose head is Xi Jinping, China's top leader.
The current president of CICIR is Yuan Peng. Both intelligent and a straight shooter, he was a visiting scholar to the Atlantic Council and the Brookings Institution.
Unlike the U.S., there is generally no "revolving door" between think tanks and public offices in China. The two are separate career tracks and usually there is no migration between them. In recent years, however, some retired Chinese officials took positions at think tanks.

Here is more about Lee Seong-hyun.  China now has 507 think tanks, according to the latest University of Pennsylvania survey of think tanks.