CCP General Office and State Council General Office Opinions concerning Strengthening the Construction of New Types of Think Tanks with Chinese Characteristics
In order to deeply implement the spirit of the 18th Party Congress and the 3rd and 4th Plenums of the 18th Party Congress, strengthen the construction of new types of think tanks with Chinese characteristics and establish and complete a policymaking consultancy system, the following Opinion is formulated.
I, Major significance
(1) New kinds of think tanks with Chinese characteristics are an important support for scientific, democratic and lawful policymaking by the Party and the government. A policymaking consultancy system is an important content of the construction of our country’s Socialist democratic politics. Our Party has always given high regard to policymaking consultancy wok. Since reform and opening up, our country’s think tank construction undertaking has developed rapidly, providing powerful intelligence support to Party and government policymaking. At present, the comprehensive construction of a moderately prosperous society has entered a decisive stage, analysing and explaining difficult questions of reform, development and stability and responding to global issues is complex and difficult without precedent, this urgently requires the completion of a policymaking support system with Chinese characteristics, the forceful strengthening of think tank construction, the support of scientific policymaking through scientific consulting, and the guidance of scientific development through scientific policymaking.
(2) New kinds of think tanks with Chinese characteristics are an important content of the state governance structure and the modernization of governance capacity. When looking at the modernization and development history of various countries in the present world, think tanks have played an increasingly important role in national governance, they are becoming an increasingly indispensable component part of national governance every day, and are an important embodiment of national governance capacity. In order to comprehensively deepen reform, perfect and develop the Socialist system with Chinese characteristics, move forward the modernization of the national governance structure and governance capacity, promote the development of the broad and multi-level institutionalization of a consultative democracy, establish an ever more mature and ever more standardized institutional system, we must realistically strengthen the construction of new kinds of think tanks with Chinese characteristics, and fully give rein to the important role of think tanks on governing and administration.
(3) New kinds of think tanks with Chinese characteristics are an important component part of national soft power. The development progress of a large country on the one hand is a process of expansion in the economy and other such hard areas, and is a process of expansion in ideology, culture and other such soft power. Think tanks are an important carrier of national soft power, they are becoming and increasingly important factor in international competition, and have an irreplaceable role in international relations. To establish a fine image of Socialist China, promote Chinese culture and contemporary China’s value view to march towards the world, send China’s voice out on the international stage, it is urgently necessary to give rein to the important role of new kinds of think tanks with Chinese characteristics in public diplomacy and mutual cultural learning, and incessantly strengthen our country’s international influence and international discourse power.
Intelligence resources are the most precious resources of a country and a nation. In recent years, our country’s think tanks have developed rapidly, gaining great achievements in the areas of producing ideas, producing results and producing talent, they have made important contributions to promoting reform, opening up and Socialist modernization construction. At the same time, following the development of circumstances, the problem that think tank construction cannot catch up and is unsuitable is also becoming ever more prominent, which mainly manifests itself as: the important position of think tanks has not been given universal regard, there is a lack of high-quality think tanks with a relatively large influence and international fame, insufficiently many high-quality research achievements are provided, there is a lack of institutionalized arrangement for participation in policymaking consulting, think tank construction lacks overall planning, resource allocation is insufficiently scientific, organizational forms and management methods urgently need to be innovated, and there is a lack of leading personalities and outstanding talents. To resolve these problems, we must, from the strategic height of the entire picture of developing the undertaking of the Party and the country, build new kinds of think tanks with Chinese characteristics into a major and urgent task, adopt powerful measures, and realistically grasp the matter well.
II, Guiding ideology, basic principles and general objectives
(4) Guiding ideology. Deeply implement the spirit of the 18th Party Congress and the 3rd and 4th Plenums of the 18th Party Congress, hold high the magnificent banner of Socialism with Chinese characteristics, persist in taking Marxism-Leninism, Mao Zedong Thought, Deng Xiaoping Theory, the important “Three Represents” thought and the scientific development view as guidance, deeply implement the spirit of the important series of speeches by General Secretary Xi Jinping, take serving Party and government policymaking as purpose, take policy research and consultancy as the main direction of attack, take perfecting organizational forms and management methods as focus point, take reform and innovation as driver, strive to build new kinds of think tank systems with Chinese characteristics geared towards modernization, towards the world and towards the future, serve the bigger picture of Party and state work even better, and provide intelligence support for the realization of the Chinese Dream of the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation.
(5) Basic principles
– Persist in Party leadership, grasp the correct orientation. Persist in Party management of think tanks, persist in the Socialist orientation with Chinese characteristics, respect the State constitution, laws and regulations, make safeguarding the national interest and the people’s interest into a starting point from beginning to end, start from our country’s national circumstances, fully embody Chinese characteristics, Chinese styles and Chinese airs.
– Persist focusing on the bigger picture, serve central work. Closely revolve around the major topics urgently required for Party and state policymaking, revolve around the major tasks of comprehensively constructing a moderately prosperous society, comprehensively deepening reform, and comprehensively moving ruling the country according to the law forward, launch future-oriented, focused and research policy research, put forward specialized, constructive, realistic and useful policy recommendations, strive to raise capacity to synthesize, research and plan strategically.
– Persist in a scientific spirit, encourage bold exploration. Persist in seeking truth from facts and pragmatism, linking theory to reality, strengthening a sense of problems, vigorously offering advice and recommendations, advocating learning from disputation and equal discussion between different academic viewpoints and different policy recommendations, create a positive, healthy, upward and beneficial environment for thin tanks to play their role.
– Persist in reform and innovation, standardize orderly development. According to the demands of their public interest service orientation and their non-profit body properties, positively move forward the categorized reform of think tanks of different sorts and different natures, scientifically determine the functional orientation of all kinds of think tanks. Strengthen top-level design, comprehensively coordinate and provide categorized guidance in affairs, give prominence to superiorities and characteristics, adjust and optimize the distribution of think tanks, stimulate the orderly development of all kinds of think tanks.
(6) General objectives. By 2020, comprehensively plan and move forward with the coordinated development of Party and government departments, social science academies, Party schools’ administrative academies, higher education institutes, the military, scientific research institutes and corporate and social think tanks, form a new kind of think tank system with a clear orientation, distinct characteristics, with an appropriate scale and a rational structuring, focus on constructing a batch of high-end think tanks with relatively large influence and international fame, create a line of public policy research and policymaking consultancy teams that persist in the correct political orientation, which combine virtue and talent, and are rich in an innovative spirit, establish a set of think tank management systems and operational mechanisms with perfect politics, which are brimming with vitality and have powerful supervision, fully give rein to the important function of new kinds of think tanks with Chinese characteristics in policy consultancy, theoretical innovation, public opinion guidance, social service and public diplomacy.
New kinds of think tanks with Chinese Characteristics are non-profit research and consultancy organs that make strategic issues and public policy into a major research objective, and make serving scientific, democratic and lawful Party and government policymaking into their purpose, they shall meet the following basic standards: (1) be substantive research bodies which abide by state laws and regulations, are stable and have standardized operations; (2) have distinct characteristics, a long-term research area for policy consultancy and research achievements; (3) have specialist representative personnel and full-time researchers with a certain influence; (4) have guaranteed and sustainable funding sources; (5) have multi-level academic exchange platforms and result transmission channels ; (6) have complete information gathering and analysis systems; (7) have complete governance structures and organizational charters; (8) having good conditions for launching international cooperation etc.
III, Build a new structure for the development of new kinds of think tanks with Chinese characteristics
(7) Stimulate the innovation and development of think tanks in social science academies and Party School administrative academies. Social science academies and Party School administrative academies must deepen structural reform of scientific research, adjust and optimize their discipline structure, strengthen comprehensive resource integration, focus on launching national circumstance research and policymaking consultancy research revolving around major real questions of raising national governing ability and economic and social development. Give rein to the superiority of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences as a national-level comprehensive high-end think tank, ensure that it becomes a globally famed think tank with international influence. Support the Central Party School and the National Administrative Academy in entering the construction of new kinds of think tanks with Chinese characteristics into general plans for developing the undertaking, promote the mutual stimulation, coordination and development of education and training, scientific research and policymaking consultancy, give rein to an even greater role in the are of policymaking consultancy. Local social science academies and Party School administrative academies must strive to serve local Party Committee and government policymaking, those meeting conditions must provide policymaking consultancy services to relevant Central departments
(8) Promote the development and perfection of higher education think tanks. Give rein to the superiority of higher education in having complete disciplines, concentrated talent and broad international exchange, deeply implement the plans to move forward the construction of new kinds of higher education think tanks with Chinese characteristics, and promote the comprehensive improvement of higher education think tank service capacities. Deepen higher education management structure reform, innovate organizational forms, integrate high-quality resources, strive to forge a batch of new-type think tanks that the Party and governments trust and use, construct a batch of special subject social science databases and laboratories, as well as soft science research bases. Implement planning for higher education philosophy and social science to march out, focus on the construction of a batch of global and regulation issue research bases and foreign China studies research centres.
(9) Construct high-level science and technology innovation think tanks and enterprise think tanks. Scientific research institutes must revolve around the strategies to construct an innovative country and implement innovation driving development, research domestic and foreign scientific research development trends, put forward consultancy recommendations, launch scientific evaluation, move forward forecasting and advance assessment, and stimulate the profound convergence of science and technology innovation and economic and social development. Give rein to the superiorities of the Chinese Academy of Science, the Chinese Academy of Engineering, the Chinese Science Association, etc. in promoting science and technology innovation, give rein to their role in national science and technology strategy, planning, deployment, policy, etc., ensure that they become high-end science and technology think tanks that lead innovation, on which the nation can rely, which are trusted by society and famous internationally. Support State-owned and State-controlled enterprises to establish new kinds of think tanks that merge industry, scholarship, research and application, focus on facing sectors and industries, revolve around policymaking consultancy and research for State-owned enterprise reform, industrial restructuring, industrial development planning, industrial technology orientations, industrial policy formulation, major projects and programmes, etc. (10) Standardize and guide the healthy development of social think tanks. Social think tanks are a component part of new kinds of think tanks with Chinese characteristics. Firmly put social responsibility first, let the Ministry of Civil Affairs, together with relevant departments, research and formulate some opinions to standardize and guide social forces in setting up think tanks, guarantee that social think tanks abide by the State constitution, laws and regulations, develop healthily along the correct direction. Further standardize consultancy services markets, perfect social consultancy product supply mechanisms. Explore effective channels for social think tanks to participate in policymaking consultancy services, create a beneficial environment for the development of social think tanks.
(11) Implement the national high-end think tank construction plan. Strengthen comprehensive planning and scientific distribution of think tank construction, comprehensively integrate current top-quality think tank resources, and focus on the construction of 50 to 100 specialized high-end think tanks that the country urgently need, have distinct characteristics, with innovative structures, which lead development. Support the Central Party School, the Chinese Academy of Science, the Chinese Academy of Social Science, the Chinese Academy of Engineering, the State Council Development Research Centre, the National Administration Academy, the Chinese Science Association, central focus news media, a number of higher education and scientific research institutes, focus education and research work units in the military system and localities meeting conditions to take the lead in launching trials for the construction of high-end think tanks.
(12) Strengthen the policymaking service capacity of Centre and state organs’ subordinate policy research bodies. Centre and state organs’ subordinate policy research bodies must revolve around the Centre’s tasks and focus work, regularly publish information needed in policymaking, and guide corresponding think tanks in launching policy research, policymaking evaluation, policy interpretation, etc., through project tendering, government procurement, direct entrustment, topical cooperation, etc. The Central Policy Research Office, the Central Financial Office, the Central Foreign Affairs Office, the State Council Research Department, the State Council Development Research Centre and other such bodies must strengthen communication and links with think tanks, hold the research results of think tanks in high regard and utilize them fully. The National People’s Congress must strengthen think tank construction, and launch research on the People’s Congress system and the Socialist legal system with Chinese characteristics. The Chinese People’s Consultative Conference must move the construction of a think tank forward, launch research on multi-party cooperation and the political consultative conference system, as well as the Socialist consultative democracy system. People’s organizations must give rein to their superiority in close linkages with the masses, and broaden policymaking consultancy service methods that conform to their own characteristics.
IV, Deepen management structure reform
(13) Deepen organizational management structure reform. According to the demands of administrative management structure reform and categorized undertaking work unit reform, respect the development laws of think tanks, and move forward with the management structure reform of different kinds of structural reform. Strengthen macro-level guidance responsibilities of governments in terms of planning think tank development, policies and regulations, comprehensive coordination and other such areas, innovate management methods, shape management structures that can both grasp the correct orientation and are beneficial to the stimulation of think tanks’ vitality.
(14) Deepen research structure reform. Encourage think tanks to launch cooperative research with real departments, raise the focus and effectiveness of research work. Complete topical tendering or entrustment systems, perfect open, fair, just, scientific, standardized and transparent project establishment mechanisms, establish long-term tracking research and sustained and long-lasting funding mechanisms. Give high regard to policymaking theory and interdisciplinary research, move forward innovation in research methods, policy analysis tools and technological methods, build interactive information sharing platforms, and provide theoretical support and methodological support for policymaking consultancy.
(15) Deepen funding management structure reform. Establish and complete standardized and effective, open and transparent funding management mechanisms with powerful supervision, explore the establishment and perfection of funding management systems that conform to the characteristics of think tank operations, and realistically raise the applied effect of funding. Scientifically and rationally compile and evaluate financial budgets, standardize direct funding support management, use indirect funding according to rules and reason, and give rein to the incentive role of output funding. Strengthen funding supervision and management and financial auditing, expand the extent of investigation and prosecution of the use of funds in violation of regulations, establish budget and funding information openness and publication systems, complete examination and accountability mechanisms, incessantly perfect supervision mechanisms.
(16) Deepen the reform of result evaluation, application and transformation mechanisms. Perfect evaluation methods with quality, innovation and real contributions as guidance, build target systems integrating user evaluation, peer evaluation and social evaluation. Establish think tank result reporting systems, broaden result application transformation channels, and raise the effect of transformation. Think tank results concerning topics entrusted by Party Committees and governments, as well as topics involving national security, scientific and technological secrets and commercial secrets may not be openly published without permission. Strengthen intellectual property rights creation, application and management concerning think tank results, and expand intellectual property rights protection.
(17) Deepen international exchange and cooperation mechanism reform. Strengthen the ability of new kinds of think tanks with Chinese characteristics for international communication and the construction of discourse systems, and enhance our country’s think tanks’ international influence and international influence. Establish exchange and cooperation mechanisms with famous international think tanks, launch international cooperative research, and vigorously participate in international think tank platform dialogues. Persist in the integration of bringing in and marching out, attract foreign think tank experts, Sinologists and other outstanding talents, support our country’s high-end think tanks to establish branch organs abroad, recommend famous think tank experts to take up positions relevant international organizations. Give high regard to the fostering of foreign language talents in think tanks, the translation and publication of think tank results and the launch of foreign-language websites, etc. Simplify examination and approval procedures for think tanks’ foreign affairs activity management, Sino-foreign expert exchange, organization of or participation in international conferences, etc. Persist in putting ourselves central, letting things work of us, and studying and learning from the advanced experience of foreign think tanks.
V, Complete institutional guarantee systems
(18) Implement government information openness system. According to the provisions of the regulations on government information openness, actively publish governmental information to society, and strengthen the authoritativeness and timeliness of information publication. Perfect government information openness methods and procedures, complete government information openness application acceptance and processing mechanisms. Broaden government information openness channels and consultation venues, give rein to the role of government websites as well as government microblogs, government WeChat and other such new information publication platforms, to make it convenient for think tanks to timely obtain government information. Complete government information openness secret preservation inspection systems, guarantee that State secrets do not leak.
(19) Perfect major policymaking opinion collection systems. Policymaking initiatives that involve the public interests and the interests directly affecting the popular masses must broadly obtain think tank opinions and suggestions through organizing hearings, forums, discussion meetings and may other such forms, to strengthen the transparency and public participation of policymaking. Encourage People’s Congress representatives, Consultative Committee members, government advisors, culture and history research institute staff and think tanks to launch cooperative research. Explore the establishment of response and feedback mechanisms for policymaking departments for consultancy opinions, and stimulate the mutually beneficial interaction of government policymaking and think tank recommendations.
(20) Establish and complete policy evaluation systems. Except for where secrets are involved or laws and regulations provide otherwise, before policy decisions such as major reform plans, major policy measures and major projects are published, it is necessary to conduct feasibility studies and a risk assessment concerning social stability, the environment, the economy and other such aspects, give regard to comparing the comprehensive analysis of different think tanks’ assessments and reports. Strengthen evaluation of policy implementation situations, implementation results and social influences, establish feedback, publication and utilization systems for think tank assessments and opinions through relevant departments, complete mechanisms for policymaking and rectifying mistakes. Explore policy evaluation models that combine internal government evaluation and third-party government evaluation, strengthen the objectivity and scientific nature of assessment results.
(21) Establish government procurement policymaking consultancy service systems. Explore the establishment of policymaking consultancy service supply systems with government guidance and participation from social forces, steadily move forward with the pluralisation of service subjects and the diversification of provision methods, satisfy government departments’ multi-level and multi-area policymaking requirements. Research and formulate governmental guiding opinions for think tank procurement policymaking consultancy services, clarify the responsibilities and duties of the procurer and the service provider. All consultancy reports, government plans, planning statistics, survey data, etc., provided by think tanks may be brought into the scope of government procurement and a guiding catalogue for government procurement services. Establish procurement mechanisms with procurement according to requirement, fixing fees according to reality, public selection of the best, which are managed through contract, use open tendering, invited tendering, competitive negotiation and single-source methods for purchasing.
(22) Complete public opinion guidance mechanisms. Fix eyes upon expanding mainstream public opinion and concentrating a social consensus, give rein to the positive role of think tanks in elucidating Party theory, interpreting public policy, surveying social public opinion, guiding social hot spots and enlightening public sentiment. Encourage think tanks to use mass media and many other methods to disseminate mainstream ideology and values, and concentrate positive social energy. Persist in doing research without forbidden zones, and propaganda with discipline.
VI, Strengthen organizational leadership
(23) Give high regard to think tank construction. All levels’ Party Committees and governments must fully understand the position and role of new kinds of think tanks with Chinese characteristics, make think tank construction into an important content of moving scientific governance, administration according to the law and strengthening government credibility forward, and list it on the important matters agenda. Establish and complete work mechanisms with uniform Party Committee leadership, and relevant departments’ responsibilities for their part of the work, and realistically strengthen leadership over think tank construction work.
(24) Incessantly perfect think tank management. Relevant departments and professional controlling work units must, according to the principle of who manages is responsible, localized management and specialized management, bear realistic management responsibilities, build rules and establish systems, set up good structures, formulate concrete and clear norms, standards and management measures, guarantee that all activities in which think tanks engage conform to the Party line, principles and policies, and abide by State laws and regulations. Strengthen comprehensive coordination, do overall planning well, optimize resource allocation, avoid duplicate construction, and prevent overhasty action and disorderly development.
(25) Expand the strength of financial input guarantees. All levels’ governments must research, formulate and implement fiscal and financial policies to support think tank development, explore the establishment of plural, multi-channel and multi-level input systems, complete competitive funding and stable support funding input mechanisms. On the basis of the nature and characteristics of different kinds of think tanks, research and formulate different support methods. Implement public service donation systems, encourage enterprises, social organizations and individuals to donate to think tank construction.
(26) Strengthen think tank talent team construction. All levels’ Party Committees and governments must make talent team construction into a focus point for think tank construction, and implement the high-end talent fostering plans for new kinds of think tanks with Chinese characteristics. Promote orderly circulation of talent between Party and government organs and think tanks, introduce think tank experts into concurrent positions in Party and government departments. Deepen reform of think tank talent position appointments, professional evaluation and other such human resource management systems, perfect talent evaluation mechanisms and incentive policies with virtue, ability and contribution as guidance. Explore many kinds of allocation methods that are beneficial to letting think tank talent play their role, establish and complete joint remuneration systems for professional responsibilities, work achievements and real contributions. Strengthen the construction of think tank experts’ professional spirit and professional ethics, guide them to consciously practice the Socialist core value system, strengthen a sense of social responsibility and a sense of honesty, firmly establish a sense of national security, a sense of information security and a sense of secret keeping and discipline, vigorously and actively contribute wisdom and ability to Party and government policymaking.
All localities and all relevant departments must integrate reality and formulate concrete rules according to the spirit of this Opinion.