Published online by Cambridge University Press: 22 September 2011
Think tanks in China simultaneously play advisory, academic and advocacy roles in the policy process. In this article, I recommend an analytical framework that evaluates think tanks by studying their specific activities in addition to their nature. Empirical data involving 301 think tanks in 25 provinces were collected through the China Think Tank Survey 2004. The 1998 regional Integrated Knowledge Development Index database was also used for the analysis. Based on these two independent sets of survey data, the article concludes that connections with the government and knowledge capacity in regions where think tanks are located are the two differing forces that drive China's think tanks to operate as either advisors or advocates. Moreover, these two determinants differentially influence the individual roles of the two types of think tanks.
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7 A recent significant example is a 2005 report of the Development Research Centre of the State Council highlighting the failure of health policy reforms. The report was widely cited by the mass media (e.g. Wang Junxiu. “Guowuyuan yanjiu jigou cheng woguo yigai gongzuo jiben bu chenggong” (“Research Institute of State Council announces that China's health policy reform is almost a failure”), Zhongguo qingnian bao (China Youth Daily), 29 July 2005). The incident eventually resulted in a new round of healthcare policy reforms throughout the country.
8 For details of the test of representativeness, see Zhu, Xufeng, “Zhongguo zhengce jingying de shehui ziben: jiyu jiegou zhuyi shijiao de fenxi” (“Social capital of Chinese policy elites: an analysis in the view of structuralism”), Shehuixue yanjiu (Sociological Studies), No. 4 (2006), pp. 86–116Google Scholar, appendix A.
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15 China's regulations for social organizations stipulate that each registered CNPI must be affiliated with a supervising unit endorsing its legitimacy. Supervising units can be government agencies or agencies authorized by the government. In some cases, think tanks have difficulty finding a supervising agency. They have to be registered as “companies,” although they mainly engage in non-profit activities.
16 Zhu and Xue, “Think tanks in transitional China,” p. 454. The authors interviewed four think tanks, showing the diversity of funding sources.
19 All collective study events of the Political Bureau of the CCP Central Committee are listed in http://news.xinhuanet.com/ziliao/2005-11/29/content_3849521.htm. The Political Bureau invited not only experts from government-sponsored think tanks, but also professors and researchers from think tanks affiliated within universities.
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28 Indexes in Hu–Xiong's IKDI system include “acquiring knowledge” (per capita international paper indexed in three major citation indexes, per capita number of national patent, and per capita foreign direct investment); “absorbing knowledge” (average years of education, enrolment rate of primary education, per capita students in middle schools, and per capita students in colleges); and “communicating knowledge” (per capita subscription of newspapers, telephone penetration rate, and per capita internet users). Hu, Angang and Xiong, Yizhi, “Woguo zhishi fazhan de diqu chayi fenxi: tedian, chengyin ji duice” (“An analysis of area gaps in China's knowledge development: their characteristics, roots thereof, and our policies”), Guanli shijie (Management World), No. 3 (2000), pp. 5–17Google Scholar.
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