Advising Chinese Leaders: Futile Efforts?

At a recent conference of Chinese political scientists and international relations scholars in Beijing, a western academic remarked that he was struck by how Chinese scholars often seemed keen to use their research to come up with advice for the Chinese state on how to advance its goals. He observed that, by contrast, western scholars were more likely to act as critics rather than aspiring advisers to their governments.

One can think of a number of explanations for the different dispositions of Chinese and western scholars. One important reason would be the Chinese system for generating “internal references” – internal reports written exclusively for high-ranking officials, and financial and other rewards for those whose reports make a good impression on those officials.

Education, Politics, Society