A Keynote speech delivered by Wei Liqun at the “2017 China’s Think Tank Governance and Theory Communication Forum”
The 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China declared that the socialism with Chinese characteristics has entered into a new era, and established the socialism with Chinese characteristics in the new era of Xi Jinping as the guiding ideology that we all must adhere to, which is the most important historical contribution. The conference also focused on the people’s pursuit for a better life and the realization of the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation. It formulated the action program and blueprint for the socialism with Chinese characteristics, further pointed out the direction of the party, the country and a bright future.
The new era represents a new journey and the new mission calls for new actions. The majority of the theoreticians and think tanks must focus on China’s development in the new era, understand the current situation, and contribute our wisdom and strength to enhance China’s discourse power, establish the Chinese school and promote China’s civilization worldwide
The report of the 19th CPC National Congress pointed out that we should further study the Marxist theory, accelerate the construction of a philosophy and social science with Chinese characteristics, and strengthen think tanks with Chinese characteristics. The socialism with Chinese characteristics has entered a new era and the Party has placed greater emphasis on the new type of think tanks with Chinese characteristics, which made all the Think Tanks very excited. In order to fulfill their duties, I believe that all think tanks must assume the mission and responsibilities of the new era and fully perform their functions, especially in the following four areas:
(1) Think tanks should be the promoter of theoretical innovation in the new era. Promoting theoretical innovation is a major function of the new think tank with Chinese characteristics. The new era has spawned new ideas and new theories. Xi Jinping’s socialist ideology with Chinese characteristics in the new era is a major ideological and scientific theory we should follow. It is a fundamental guide for understanding and developing contemporary China and therefore, we must learn and understand this important ideological theory, use it to guide the practice of think tanks. Practice is the source of theory and it will continue endlessly, so will be the theoretical innovation. We must follow the socialist ideology of Chinese characteristics in the new era of Xi Jinping, make in-depth analysis based on the reform and development in the new era, and promote theoretical and practical innovation, which is an important task for the development of new think tanks in the new era.
(2) Think tanks should be the analysts of the new era. New era always comes with new problems and thus, think tanks should face the challenges, analyze them and resolve them. To achieve its success in building a well-off society in an all-round way, China will surely face more complex and unprecedented difficulties. Some of the problems come from the past and remain to be unresolved, some are newly emerged problems, some problems are related to domestic affairs while others are international, no matter what, they have to be solved appropriately and timely. In the new era, think tanks will be faced with new tasks and start a new journey, therefore, they must be aware of the arduous tasks ahead and offer their solutions. On the one hand, they have to focus on researching the long term issues, on the other hand, they also have to deal with issues which need to be solved quickly. We should conduct fact-finding trips to get the first hand experience, apply strategic, open and innovative thinking, and come up with creative policy suggestions and ideas. It is also necessary to accurately assess the social public opinions, offer them guidance and gather social consensus in order to form a more positive society.
(3) Think tanks should contribute their wisdom to the policy makers in the new era. Serving the party and government’s decision-making process is the core mission of all think tanks. The 19th National Party Congress made clear the basic strategy, goals, arrangements and major initiatives of the new era. To implement all these strategic decisions, we should conduct further studies and promptly offer corresponding policy recommendations. In order to achieve that goal, we have to gather wisdom from different aspects, especially the wisdom of think tanks. The relationship between “interpretation” and “innovation” must be correctly clarified if we want to serve the national strategic deployments and promote the implementation of major policy decisions. We must undertake innovative research based on the national strategic needs and the changing domestic and international situations, and actively provide high-level, constructive, and effective proposals to enhance the predictability, and effectiveness to the government. The intellectual contribution to the decision-making should be an important indicator assessing the quality of think tanks’ research.
(4) Think tanks should be the interpreter of the China path. The new era of the socialism with Chinese characteristics is an era in which China is increasingly approaching the center of the world stage and making greater contributions to mankind. The path of socialism with Chinese characteristics has grown wider and greater with great success, and provided new choices for those countries that want to speed up development while maintaining their own characteristics. Nowadays, more and more people are turning their attention to China, studying China and the research on contemporary China has become a new discipline in the academic and theoretical world. Thus, Chinese think tanks have to properly interpret the true meaning and connotation of China’s path, the prospects of socialism with Chinese characteristics in a new era, the contribution China has made to the world. At the same time, we should correct those people who have misjudged and misinterpreted the development of China. We must be good at expressing Chinese voice on the international stage, and explaining China’s development so as to increase China’s international influence, promote the building of a common community of shared future for all mankind.
In order to make the think tanks more useful and fully perform their duties in the new era, we must improve the governance of all Chinese think tank as a whole. Under the guidance of General Secretary Xi Jinping’s theories on building a new type of think tank, the development of China’s think tank has made great progress since the party’s 18th National Congress. For instance, the role of think tanks has been significantly enhanced and we have also developed ways of evaluating think tanks. However, it goes without saying that there are still many gaps between the current development of China’s think tanks and the requirements of the new era and the new mission. Fundamentally, we should earnestly strengthen the study, implementation, and research of Xi Jinping’s theories on new think tanks, further clarify the basic attributes, functional positioning, important characteristics, and development requirements of new think tanks, and consolidate the theoretical foundation for the construction and governance of think tanks. In the aspect of macro-management, we must continue to reform and improve the governance of think tanks, and further develop policies and a legal environment that are conducive to the common development of various think tanks. From a social perspective, we must form a good atmosphere and conditions for the development of think tanks. As for the think tanks themselves, it is necessary to effectively improve and standardize the internal governance and the quality of research. Only by strengthening and improving the management of think tanks in all aspects, can the new think tanks with Chinese characteristics achieve sustainable, high-quality and efficient development, and make greater contributions to the new mission in the new era.
The ability to disseminating its research work is an important factor in determining the level of management of think tanks and the role they can play, and it is also an important indicator of their influence. New think tanks should attach great importance to the development of dissemination capacity, and constantly increase the dissemination, influence, and credibility of their research findings. With the rapid spread of the internet and the implementation of big data strategies, think tank should make better use of the opportunities and platforms brought by these new technologies. We are pleased to see that the Guangming Daily has taken the lead in this regard. For example, the newly launched e-journal “Guangming Think Tank” learned about the readers’ reading habits and disseminate all their information through the mobile phone APP.
The wheel of history always rolls forward. At present, the world is undergoing unprecedented changes, and China is also experiencing the most extensive and profound social changes and carrying out the most ambitious and unique practical innovations in the history of mankind, which represents a great stage and opportunity for China’s think tanks. This is a rare opportunity for think tanks to display their talents and serve the country, testing their ability to deal with difficult problems and achieve self-breakthroughs. As a think tank in the new era, we must remember our initial goals, keep the mission in mind, focus on key areas, and have a clear understanding of our main direction. Furthermore, we must focus on implementing the major ideas, strategic plans, and major work initiatives put forward by the Party’s Central Committee. Last but not least, we must shoulder the glorious mission of serving the Chinese society in a new era, build a modernized socialist nation, and fulfill the Chinese dream of the great rejuvenation.