New grassroots governance plan released

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Following the conclusion of the 20th Party Congress, the Ministry of Civil Affairs (MCA) announced that China is set to establish its first group of grassroots governance research centers on Nov 8.

The announcement came against the backdrop of the Opinions of the Chinese Communist Party Central Committee and the State Council on Strengthening the Modernization of the Grassroots Governance System and Capacity.

According to the MCA, the research centers should be established by higher education or research institutions. Institutions with the will to build centers will go through a three-stage process of application, joint evaluation, and public announcement.

There will be regular assessments and dynamic management of the research centers every three years. Only the ones that pass an evaluation will be approved to enter the next phase of development. Furthermore, research centers that achieve outstanding levels of performance will be recommended to become national high-end think tanks.

Unsurprisingly, the requirements for applying to build a research center are high, with the announcement specifying that all institutions applying to establish research centers should be on China’s double first-class initiative or provincial-and-above-level research institutes. Other requirements include a firm foundation for grassroots governance research, a highly competent research team whose leader should be a leading figure in their field, and stable funding and access to a pool of skilled workers.