Pascal Abb: Think Tanks in China


May 28th, 2019, 15:00-16:30


Trainee Centre, 3.40, Vodární 6


Since the Chinese government’s 2015 announcement to establish a series of „new-type think tanks with Chinese characteristics“, such institutes have featured heavily within current efforts to improve domestic governance and gain a more prominent voice on the global stage. Significant amounts of money have been made available, mainly to overhaul existing institutes that are tightly integrated with the state and party apparatus. While the overall profile of China’s think tanks has been strengthened as a result, they still face numerous challenges ranging from tightening constraints on political speech to bureaucratic inefficiency, while internationally, their close identification with the government has also undercut their role as independent messengers. The lecture will sketch the main strategic aims in the PRC’s pursuit of building „new-type think tanks”, take stock of recent developments, and discuss the role these institutes play in major governance programs and international initiatives. 


Pascal Abb is a senior researcher at the Austrian Study Centre for Peace and Conflict Resolution (ASPR). His research has mainly focused on Chinese foreign policy and the role which experts and think tanks play in its formulation. As part of a visiting scholarship at Tsinghua University, he organized an international workshop on „Think Tanks in Asia“ in 2016 that led to the publication of a special issue of Pacific Affairs comparing development trends in different countries in the region.