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China has second largest number of think tanks worldwide

People's Daily Online | Updated: 2017-01-26 09:42

More and more Chinese think tanks are being recognized by the world's most authoritative think tank ranking, with the most recent rendition of the report putting the number of Chinese think tanks second in the world.

Over 6,828 think tanks were catalogued in the Think Tanks and Civil Societies Program (TTCSP) database. Close to 55 percent were based in North America and Europe. Specifically, there were 1,835 think tanks in the U.S., more than in any other nation. China came in second place with 435 think tanks, according to He Yuping, acting managing director of Penn Wharton China Center, when presenting this year's report.

However, an organization's inclusion in the report does not indicate a seal of approval or endorsement by TTCSP, He stressed. The highest-ranking Chinese think tank was China Institutes of Contemporary International Relations (CICIR), which was 33rd on the list of the top 175 think tanks in the world. Nine Chinese think tanks in all were included among the 175.

China had 18 think tanks on the Asian list that included top 60 think tanks from China, India, South Korea and Japan. CICIR took the lead in fourth. Specifically, TTCSP also listed five Chinese think tanks as "Think Tanks to Watch," including Shanghai Advanced Institute of Finance (31) and Center for China and Globalization (CCG) (54).

The figures were released as part of the annual Global Go To Think Tank Index from TTCSP at the University of Pennsylvania during a press conference in Beijing on Jan 25. The program compiles one of the most authoritative lists of high-performing think tanks around the world.

Sun Weijia, a director with the Counselors' Office of the State Council, said China can learn from the influential TTCSP project, especially in the face of increasingly complicated global affairs. Addressing the conference, Sun said Chinese think tanks should help guide the world to look at China in an objective way. He also called on the organizations to actively advocate for a supportive environment for China's development.

Think tanks are gaining importance in China, forming a "ninth democratic party" for political consultatiion and policy-making. However, there are still problems with domestic think tanks, including uneven development and insufficient cooperation, Wang Huiyao, CCG director, pointed out at the conference.

Xu Yongquan, deputy director of the China Center for Contemporary World Studies, added that Chinese think tanks are mostly focused on international relations, and more efforts ought to be be aimed at studying domestic affairs.

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