Source: Global Times Published: 2016-6-1
Chinese President Xi Jinping invited 10 experts to a symposium on philosophy and social sciences recently. "China is undergoing the most profound and widespread social reform in its history," Xi stressed, adding that such unprecedented practices will generate enormous power and broad space for developing theory.
Xi has highlighted a significant topic belonging to this era - China needs great theories and minds that meet the needs of our times and the requirements of practice.
A wide vision is key to theoretical innovation. As an researcher invited to the symposium, Wang Wen, former Global Times editorial writer and executive dean of the Chongyang Institute for Financial Studies, Renmin University of China, has a global overview.
During his media career, Wang travelled around the world, commentating on world affairs. He left the media and established a think tank in 2012, striving to give China a greater say in the international arena. He has played an active role in promoting Chinese theories to both developed and developing nations including Germany, France, Turkey and South Africa.
Wang visited South Carolina earlier this year. There he observed the US presidential candidates` campaigns and debated with David Shambaugh, a professor advocating the "China collapse" theory.
More insightful ideas can be found in Wang`s new book Anxieties of USA: the think tank perspectives on China rise and US response.
Ma Huaide, a professor with the China University of Political Science and Law, is another expert with a global vision. As a researcher on administrative laws, Ma has been directly involved in researching and drafting different kinds of laws. He studied in University of Sydney, University of Melbourne, Boston University and Yale University as a senior visiting scholar and participated in various international academic meetings to draw experiences from his foreign colleagues.
Zhang Weiwei, dean of the China Institute at Fudan University, was an English interpreter for then Chinese leader Deng Xiaoping and other leaders in the 1990s.
Travelling to more than 100 countries, Zhang has published a number of articles on China`s development mode, foreign policies, Chinese economic and political reforms, and so forth in mainstream Western media outlets including The New York Times and The Huffington Post.
Practice is the basis for theoretic innovation. Experts invited to the symposium have abundant practical experiences. For instance, director of Strategy Research Institute of National Defense University Jin Yinan served at the grass-roots level for about 12 years. Now he is a renowned scholar who has published a number of books on national security strategy, international conflicts and crisis management.
Meanwhile, Justin Yifu Lin, a professor from Peking University, worked for the State Council`s Research Institute of Rural Development and was chief economist of the World Bank where he served from 2008 to 2012. He is the economist in the mainland who has the most published papers on international economic journals.
Fan Jinshi, a research fellow at Dunhuang Academy is another example. She has devoted more than 40 years to archaeological studies and accumulated abundant first-hand practical experiences since graduating from Peking University in 1963.
China-centered values are a necessary requirement for theoretical innovation. "Telling Chinese stories well to the world" has become Zhang`s pet phrase. Zhang has been striving to break the Western monopoly in public discourse on a number of international occasions, including in interviews with Western mainstream media outlets. China-centered values are shared by all scholars invited to the symposium.
Just as Xi noted that the current era is conducive to the development of philosophy and social sciences, a wide global vision, abundant practical experiences and China-centered values will instill strong impetus to and provide broad room for theoretical innovation and academic prosperity.