China’s Think Tanks:
Roles and Implications for the Civil Society in China
A Panel Discussion With:
James G. McGann
Director, Think Tanks and Civil Societies Program, Foreign Policy Research Institute
Assistant Director, International Relations Program, University of Pennsylvania
Visiting Scholar, Harvard Yenching Institute
Associate professor from Nankai University of China
Associate Professor at Tsinghua University of China;
Visiting Scholar, Hauser Center for Nonprofit Organizations
Executive Director, Asia Programs, Ash Institute at Harvard Kennedy School
May 1, 2009
11:00 AM - 12:30 PM
Taubman Building 5th Floor, Room NYE C, Harvard Kennedy School
The role of think tanks in China’s political system has generated great interest within and outside China. Based on his recent research of 76 think tanks from China mainland and long time research on think tanks all over the world, Dr. McGann will discuss about the roles and the future of the think tanks in China from a comparative perspective. The talk will focus on how think tanks as a civil society entity participate in or influence policy making in China, and how their roles are changing the political dynamics that possibly allows for more space for the civil organizations in China. Dr. Xufeng Zhu will then, based on the research from his nationwide survey data of think tanks conducted in 2004, respond to Dr. McGann’s speech, and further explore the reasons and social consequences for the unique status of China’s think tanks. Professor Xijin Jia will comment then comment on the two different research approaches proceeding from China’s unique social and political environment, and further probe the status and path of those think tanks as nonprofits or NGOs.
Presenter: James G. McGann, Ph.D. is a reverent scholar on think tanks. He has recently finished a research, Think Tanks and Civil Society in Mainland China, Hong Kong and Taiwan. Among his 7 books on think tanks are The International Survey of Think Tanks (FPRI, 1999), Think Tanks and Civil Societies: Catalyst for Ideas and Action, co-edited with Kent B. Weaver (Transaction Publishers 2000), Comparative Think Tanks, Politics, and Public Policy (Edward Elgar 2005), Global Trends and Transitions: 2007 Survey of Think Tanks (FPRI 2008) and The Global Go To Think Tanks (2008). Over the last 15 years he has taught courses in International Law, International Relations, International Organizations, Comparative Public Policy and Global Knowledge and Policy Networks on a regular basis. Among his positions, he has served as President of McGann Associates, a program and management consulting firm, the Senior Vice-President for the Executive Council on Foreign Diplomacy, the Public Policy Program Officer for The Pew Charitable Trusts, the Assistant Director of the Institute of Politics of HKG.
Respondent: Xufeng Zhu, PhD, Associate Professor at the Zhou Enlai School of Government, Nankai University, is the author of a forthcoming Chinese language book entitled China’s Think Tanks: Research on Their Influence in the Policymaking Process. He got his bachelor degree in engineering and doctorate in public policy from Tsinghua University in China, in 2000 and 2005. His major research interests in China studies are the policy process, China’s think tanks, policy analyses, and social stratification in transitional China. His recent publications include articles in Public Administration and Development, Policy Sciences, Asian Survey, and Social Sciences in China (in Chinese), among others. He is presently a weekly columnist for Hong Kong News Daily. He was selected in the “New Century Excellent Talents Supporting Program” by the Ministry of Education of China.
Commentator: Xijin Jia, PhD, Research Fellow at the Hauser Center, Associate Professor at Tsinghua University in China. Her research area is Civil Society and Governance, focusing on comparative studies, citizen participation, NGO-Government relationships, and political reform in transforming countries. Professor Jia has extensive experience in field research and pilot studies on civil society in China. She has been the Task Leader for the Government Procurement Project for ADB, and the National Coordinator for the international comparative program of Civil Society Index. She has published 4 books, and more than 40 articles. Professor Jia received her PhD at Peking University with a major in Sociology, and Master and Bachelor Degree of Medicine at Beijing Medical University. She has two years experience as an intern in Mental Health Hospital with a major in Social Psychiatry.
Moderator: Julian Chang has served as the executive director of Asia Programs at the Ash Institute since July 2001 and director of the Kansai Keizai Doyukai Program since 2002. He received his Ph.D. in political science from the Department of Government at Harvard University. At Harvard, Chang served as residential dean of Cabot House from 1993 to 1996, and worked in the University Development Office. He received his B.A. from Yale University and received a Yale-China fellowship to teach at Wuhan University, China. In 1996, Chang went west to Stanford to become assistant director of the Center for East Asian Studies. In 1997, he helped to establish the Stanford Asia/Pacific Scholars Program, a university-wide fellowship program for graduate students from Asia. He joined Stanford’s Asia Pacific Research Center (A/PARC) as deputy director in the fall of 1998. His research interests include Sino-Soviet/Russian relations, communications, and mass media in China.
Read Notes of the panel
Think Tanks' Roles and Implications for Civil Society in China
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