Shortly after taking office, Chinese President Xi Jinping instructed that a new type of think tanks with Chinese characteristics be set up in April 2013. Since then, the revamped institutions have reached new heights. In January 2015, China released its first crucial document on the building of think tanks. In May 2016, Xi stressed again the work to set up such think tanks as the basis of a decision-making consultation system.
Thanks to Xi's attention, China's think tanks have made great headway in recent years, with breakthroughs in both the quantity of think tanks and the quality of their research. They have contributed many suggestions and opinions on China's politics, economy, society, international exchanges and hot issues.
Think tanks are regarded as an important force to promote the system and capability of state governance by the Chinese leadership. Xi emphasized that to achieve good state governance, we must muster different types of wisdom and rally strength from the broadest sectors of society. The more arduous the task of reform and opening up is, the more knowledgeable support is needed.
The Communist Party of China Central Committee and the Central Government have already developed mature ways of making use of think tanks. The Party leadership often invites think tank experts to their collective study classes. On issues related to public interests, decision-making is based on advice and opinions from think tanks in the form of symposiums and dialogue.
Think tanks have provided a large number of opinions for reference on issues like economic risks, supply-side structural reform, comprehensive poverty alleviation, environmental protection and pollution treatment, as well as the Belt and Road Initiative. In an increasingly complex international arena, to achieve the goal of the great revitalization of the Chinese nation, we need to listen to their voices and extract their wisdom. Think tanks have made themselves a big bookend for the Party and the government's scientific, law-abiding and democratic decisions.
Chinese think tanks are also becoming more active on the international stage. Experts often make remarks and participate in public dialogue, helping to promote communication and mutual learning between China and the rest of the world. They have opened a window for the international community to get to know China better.
Despite their rapid growth in recent years, Chinese think tanks are still at their initial stage of development compared with those in Western countries. In order to play a bigger role in China's future development, think tanks still have a long way to go to upgrade talent, make use of intellectual resources and expand to more areas.