CCG’s response to recent MERICS report

May 17 , 2024

The Center for China and Globalization (CCG) notes a MERICS report published on May 8, 2024 on Chinese thinktanks and its various observations of CCG, including recognizing that CCG is “private, without official governmental affiliation” and CCG’s “role in opening channels of communication and fostering dialogue in more flexible formats than official tracks.”


CCG was not consulted – not that it should be – in the making of the report, and therefore did not have a chance to give its input. Now that it has been published, CCG would like to make a few fact-based clarifications for a more comprehensive understanding of the non-governmental thinktank.


1CCG is recognized, including by the EU, for its contribution to two-way communications and platforming foreign wisdom in China. 

CCG stands out for its vital and recognized role in platforming two-way communications, including by creating and presenting increasingly cherished opportunities for foreigners to have their voices heard in the Chinese mainland.

It is a distinct feature of CCG that the content of its events is publicly accessible online in the Chinese mainland. For example, in 2023 alone, CCG shared the content, in the forms of video recording and text transcripts, of its 9th China and Globalization Forum10th China and Globalization Forum, speeches by Joseph Borrell, Joseph Nye, Michael Pillsbury, Pascal Lamy, Arancha González, Suisheng Zhao, and others.

In another example, CCG, since 2023, published or facilitated the publication, in the Chinese mainland, of books by Graham Allison, Joseph NyeKishore MahbubaniKerry Brown, and foreign ambassadors and business executives.

CCG has become one of the few remaining venues here where we can express ourselves openly, where we can express ourselves in public, and where our expression, where our statements are even published,” said Jorge Toledo Albiñana, Ambassador of the European Union to China, on January 23, 2004 in the presence of fellow ambassadors in a publicly-accessible – by video and in text – event.


2) CCG facilitates and contributes to all-rounded, including critical, and reasoned debate on Chinese policies.

In China, CCG events are characterized by and known for the diversity of opinions and their sources. Just in one example on the international side, CCG hosts three English-language newsletters, PekingnologyThe East is Read, and CCG Update, that are widely followed in the global China-watching community. The three newsletters routinely shed light on critical debates on Chinese policies within China. Even the very report itself is a beneficiary.

The report includes the following critical content on Chinese thinktanks, and all of them are sourced from a CCG Update newsletter.

This dynamic is visible in how they are increasingly pushed to revert to official talking points in their outward facing messaging, something the Chinese think tank community itself voices discontent about. [Footnote 14]

A seminar organized by CCG in October 2023 on the occasion of release of their Global Think Tanks 2.0 (大国智库2.0) report, 23 with prominent think tankers and intellectuals such as Shi Yinhong or Lu Xiang, provides a snapshot of the many frustrations in the Chinese think tank community [Footnote 23]

Anecdotal evidence from exchanges with Chinese think tankers keeping to closely stick to official talking points and practice self-restraint during exchanges supports the assessment of a need for greater autonomy and wider parameters. [Footnote 29]


3) CCG conducts extenstive research and contributes significantly to policymaking. 

CCG’s advice directly led to the creation of the National Immigration Administration of the People’s Republic of China.

CCG was one of the first and vocal advocates for China to apply to join TPP (later CPTPP), long before the choice became mainstream and ultimately government policy.

CCG was the most visible Chinese institution to advocate for Chinese policy to afford permanent residency for foreigners and was even vilified as a “traitor,” before many foreigners getting their Chinese greencards.

CCG’s 9th China and Globalization Forum is the first publicly known instance where China’s then climate envoy says he wanted to travel to the U.S. to meet his counterpart, the start of a series of high-level Chinese government visits to the U.S.

That many of CCG research are published in Chinese for Chinese mainland audience is perhaps a reason that such efforts are overlooked abroad. For example, CCG’s blue-collar 7-book series since 2014 中国企业全球化报告 Report on Chinese Enterprises Globalization was recognized by an insititute within the Chinese Academy of Sciences, the highest body of scientific research in China.  CCG’s 中国留学发展报告 Annual Report on the Development of Chinese Students Studying Abroad is the industry flagship report and is now in its 9th edition

There are more examples including many that should, at least for now, stay away from public view, but the gist is that one of the key contributions of CCG is to create, cultivate, and facitiliate, as a platform and a cataclyst, both publicly and privately, to enable policy ideas to be initiatied, familiarized, incentivized, and ultimately adopted in China.


4) CCG was and is not a part of, a subsidiary of, led by, supervised by, or managed by the United Front Work Department or the International Liaison Department of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee. 

The report correctly said CCG Founder and President Wang Huiyao “remained on the Western Returned Scholars Association (WRSA) until 2021.”

The full picture is that Wang was one of two dozen Vice Presidents of the 理事会/Council of the WRSA [7th Council] [6th Council], and the 理事会/Council is identical to the advisory boards of many Chinese and foreign organizations where the Council members do not work at the organizations. As in cases of identical advisory boards internationally, those two dozen Vice Presidents, including Wang, had full-time jobs elsewhere. The work of WRSA is conducted by its 工作机构/Working Organs, not its 理事会/Council. The WRSA’s 理事会/Council is not even listed in its webpage of 工作机构/Working Organs.

On its non-Party or non-Governmental nature, CCG has meticulously clarified in the past, for example:

CCG’s founders and employees are not employees of the CPC or Chinese government organs. They are in the Chinese private sector.

CPC and Chinese state employees all have their respective 编制 (bianzhi, or the authorized headcount of personnel within the state system.) CCG personnel do not.

All CPC and Chinese state employees are categorized into a 级别 (jibie, or official ranking) system, where each and every one of them has a jibie. CCG personnel do not.

CCG personnel pay their pension and medical care insurance contributions to the scheme shared by the private sector in the city of Beijing.

When traveling abroad, CCG personnel, including Wang and Mabel Lu Miao, the two CCG founders and leaders, have no access to and therefore cannot and do not use Chinese governmental service/official/diplomatic passports.

CCG notes no substantiation about CCG’s “possible links” to the CPC Central Committee International Liasion Department was given in the report.


For more details, refer to CCG website and a CCG Update newsletter.