China / Society

Petition letters to be subject of doctoral analysis

By Zhao Xinying (China Daily) Updated: 2015-07-08 07:52

China's first doctoral program on the quantitative analysis of petition letters and calls was set up at China University of Political Science and Law on Monday, a development which experts said would contribute to research and reform of China's petition system.

The program is to be established jointly by Beijing Institute of Letters to Government and the university's School of Political Science and Public Administration.

Fu Guangwan, professor of the school, said, "In an era of big data, qualitative analysis alone can't meet the increasing demand of research on petitions, and quantitative summarization and induction is urgently needed under such circumstances."

In 2013, the school and the institute collaborated in developing a course called "the quantitative management of social conflicts" among masters' students at the school, which laid a basis for the establishment of this doctoral program.

"The program will be the first of its kind in China to research petition data, and will promote the development of theoretical study, as well as the innovation and reform of the petition system in China," Fu said.

The program is expected to start recruiting students in 2016, and only one student is to be recruited for the first year.

The student will have access to a series of courses, such as the introduction of China's social conflicts in the course of social transformation, quantitative analysis and empirical research on petition letters and calls, social investigation and the social statistic approach.

Zhang Zonglin, deputy director of the Beijing Office of Letters and Calls, said the establishment of the program is an innovation in petition research.

"A great deal of data on petition letters and calls has accumulated for years, but has never been analyzed comprehensively or in a quantitative way," Zhang said.

"By setting up the program and doing research on that basis, problems in public administration will be monitored and suggestions of how to solve the problems will be made, which will help improve governance," he said.

Cao Yin contributed to this story.

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