China Review News carried an article addressing the issue of the growing interest in developing think tanks in China. The article was based on an interview that China Economic Times conducted of Professor Xue Lan, Dean of the School of Public Policy and Management at Tsinghua University. Xue addressed the current issues facing university think tanks. He made recommendations for the development of different types of think tanks in China and shared his view on what is needed to ensure that these think tanks remain independent. The following are Xue’s recommendations on the future development of government, university, and private think tanks.
Those policy research agencies working within the government rely on limited funding from the government. They have to find outside consulting projects to offset the shortfall in funding. Xue recommended that some of them should become policy research departments within the government. Some can gradually become independent, but the government should provide limited financial assistance before they become independent.
Those university think tanks that are public policy research firms can be transformed into first class think tanks. They can follow a model that is similar to those in foreign countries. They need to reconsider their relationship with the university, improve their research capabilities, and try to acquire donations from the public.
For private think thanks, since they have already gained years of experience, Xue recommended that the government provide tax or other incentives to help them grow to be the main driving force in the area of think tanks.
Source: China Review News Agency, April 18, 2015