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Invigorate Chinese academics, develop Chinese theories and spread Chinese ideas

Author  :  Wang Weiguang     Source  :    Chinese Social Sciences Today     2017-06-12

May 17 marks the 40th anniversary of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (CASS), China’s preier think tank. Chinese President Xi Jinping sent a congratulatory letter to the ceremony, showing that CASS faculty as well as all philosophers and social scientists nationwide are in the thoughts of the central government and the Communist Party of China (CPC). We should grasp and resolutely implement the spirit of Xi’s address, to make new and greater contributions to developing Marxism in the 21st century and Marxism of contemporary China; to building discipline, academic and discourse systems concerning philosophy and social sciences with Chinese characteristics, and to boosting the international influence of Chinese philosophy and social sciences. To be specific, we should endeavor in the following aspects.

Strengthen research on Marxism

Following the guidance of Marxism and building a stronghold for Marxist theoretical research are top missions the Party entrusts to CASS. As the “national team” for philosophy and social sciences research, CASS faculty should always be aware of the guiding role of Marxism and resolutely apply the Marxist standpoint, viewpoint and method to building the institution into a stronghold for Marxist theoretical research. We should grasp the essence and spirit of Marxism in a systematic way while enhancing our ability to utilize its perspectives and methodologies to guide academic development and resolve major issues in various research fields.

We must conduct research for the benefit of the people. To this end, we should have the courage to innovate, produce academic results that are amenable to practice and history, and train intellectuals who can serve and contribute to the Party and the people.

Building a stronghold for Marxist theoretical research also requires the sinicization and popularization of Marxism and innovation so that the theories can meet the demands of the times. For this purpose, we should study and interpret theoretical innovations of the Party.

Since the 18th CPC National Congress, Xi has made a series of major policy addresses focused on socialism with Chinese characteristics, proposing new vision, thinking and strategies for China’s governance. These addresses are not only theoretical innovations by the Party but also new outcomes of the localization of Marxism. They are result of developing Marxism in the 21st century and Marxism of contemporary China, so scholars in CASS should study and expound upon these addresses and new thinking embodied in them.

Having this mission in mind, we should try to read the original Marxist classics and other works in line with our needs for building socialism, study original addresses by Xi, and then comprehend these important texts through integrating them with one’s own work, to form identification in thinking, politics and feeling. Moreover, research topics should be set up in CASS echoing theoretical innovations of the Party. The best brains in philosophy and social sciences fields should be organized to do profound research on them so as to create significant outcomes.

Serve decision-making

Xi called for CASS staff and philosophy and social sciences researchers to study major theoretical and practical issues concerning China’s reform, development and stability. Adhering to and developing socialism with Chinese characteristics requires exploration in theory and practice. One major mission for China’s philosophy and social sciences is to study and answer crucial theoretical and practical problems in China’s development process and at the same time, realize their values and advance themselves.

CASS should take as its major responsibility to focus on the central task and serve the overall interests, and conduct research on and tackle key problems in major strategies, plans and issues in economic and social development and other major decisions and arrangements of the Central Party and the State Council. We should produce excellent research results that are of important referential value for decision-making of the Party and the nation and of strategic significance for national development to enhance the capacity and level to serve the decision-making of the Party and the nation.

Making use of its advantages in concentrated disciplines, talent, resources and strength in comprehensive research, CASS should integrate basic and applied research on major strategies and arrangements of the country. It should also conduct quality, forward-looking and targeted research to propose more insightful, feasible and in-depth measures with its own features to better fulfill the role of the nation’s premier think tank.

We should continue to implement the strategy of striving for great heights in discipline construction. We should emphasize basic disciplines that can provide support for philosophy and social sciences development, and at the same time, stress emerging and interdisciplinary fields that have practical significance.

We should also develop preponderant disciplines while strengthening ones with great cultural value and those marginal disciplines that are worth inheriting. Hence, we can form a discipline system characterized by a solid foundation of complete basic disciplines, major disciplines with prominent advantages, innovated development of emerging disciplines and interdisciplinary fields, and byway disciplines can be handed down. Within this system, basic research and applied research are inseparably interconnected, and academic research and practical application can promote each other.

Build discipline, academic and discourse systems

Xi called on CASS to build discipline, academic and discourse systems concerning philosophy and social sciences with Chinese characteristics. We should pursue this glorious mission and play a leading role in this regard.

To this end, CASS should further implement the Innovation Program for philosophy and social sciences. Adhering to the principle of “letting a hundred flowers blossom and a hundred schools of thought contend” and aiming to stand at the academic forefront, we should stress enhancing academic quality and building platforms for theoretical and methodological innovation in philosophy and social sciences. We can upgrade the academy’s ability to propose academic topics and raise academic standards while producing academic thought, perspectives and discourse.

And then we can put forward new concepts and theories with Chinese characteristics, styles and manners as we innovate the academic system. Moreover, we should further strengthen academic evaluation through innovation, establish an academy for academic evaluation, and build a well-designed, authoritative, open and transparent system of standards and evaluation for philosophy and social sciences results.

Boost international influence

Xi also tasked CASS with raising the international prestige and influence of Chinese philosophy and social sciences. In response, we should further implement the “going out” strategy of Chinese academics and enhance international communication among scholars of philosophy and social sciences by building platforms for international academic exchange and hosting high-end international forums. In this way, we can proactively communicate China’s theories and vision to the world.

As China’s premier think tank, CASS should make use of its advantages in resources, disciplines and talent to carry out multi-dimensional, in-depth communications on academics and ideas through various channels. Thus we can become the window for national foreign academic exchange and cooperation. The going out strategy also involves increasing ability to set topics for international discussion, actively participate in and set up international academic organizations, and express China’s voice in an appropriate way in the international community.

Moreover, we should organize and implement national-level schemes for international think tank and humanities exchanges, including China-CEEC Think Tanks Network, China-India Think Tank Forum, and China-Korea Humanities Forum. Finally, we should build a network of China studies centers overseas that are jointly established and operated by Chinese and overseas organizations. They can serve to spread Chinese ideas, values and share China’s experience of development with the world.


The article was translated from People’s Daily. Wang Weiguang is president of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.

Editor: Yu Hui

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