6 Chinese think tanks make world's top 100 list

By Chen Weihua in Washington | | Updated: 2017-01-28 10:23

Six Chinese think tanks were ranked among the top 100 in the world in a latest report released in Washington on Thursday.

The 2016 Global Go To Think Tank Index Report was published by the Think Tank and Civil Societies Program at the Lauder Institute of the University of Pennsylvania (TTCSP).

US-based think tanks took six of the top 10 positions, with the Brookings Institution continuing to be ranked on top. The Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) ranked No 4 while the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace stood at fifth.

Rand Corp was seventh, while Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars took eighth place. The Council on Foreign Relations, headquartered in New York, took 10th place.

The China Institute of Contemporary International Relations (CICIR), at 33rd, was the highest ranked among China's think tanks. The Chinese Academy of Social Sciences was 38th, while the China Institute of International Studies (CIIS) was 40th.

Other Chinese think tanks that made into the top 100 include the Development Research Center of the State Council (DRC), the Shanghai Institute for International Studies (SIIS) and the Institute of International & Strategic Studies (IISS).

At 1,835, the US has more think tanks than any other nation. China has the second most, with 435 think tanks, while the United Kingdom was third with 288 think tanks.

China has witnessed a boom in think tanks in recent years after President Xi Jinping called to build a new type of think tank with Chinese characteristics.

James McGann, head of the University of Pennsylvania program, revealed on Thursday that he has zero budget and zero staff for the 10-year-old program, but hosts 50 interns each semester and has a partnership with think tanks around the world.

Edwin Feulner, founder and former president of The Heritage Foundation, has advised US President Donald Trump's campaign since last August. He said the names recommended by the Heritage Foundation and the Federalist Society have played a large role in Trump's team selection.

Jane Harman, president and CEO of Wilson Center, described the relationship among think tanks as "frenemies" (friendly enemies). "We compete, but we work together. There is a huge overlap of what we do," she said at the Thursday talk at CSIS on think tanks' role.

John Hamre, president and CEO of CSIS, believes that the role of think tanks has become more important because more people are coming to Washington for special interests.

"You need institutions that can objectively evaluate them against the context of public good," he said.

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