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Chinese scholars discuss reducing formalism by following "Eight-Point Regulation"

| 2013-03-18 | Hits:
  The Eight-Point Regulation   The Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee issued an Eight-Point Regulations on December 4th, 2012 to emphasize improving work style. The issuing of the Eight-Point Regulation has initiated a fresh and practical research style within social science and philosophy circles, prompting scholars to focus on improving the integrity and usefulness of their research and to weed out long existent problems, such as grandiosity in research scope, extravagance in approach and disconnect with the general populace and the most pressing issues they face.   During the Party meeting of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (CASS), Chen Kuiyuan, vice-chairman of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) and secretary of the Party Group and the president of CASS, affirmed that the Eight-Point Regulation is very important and very timely. Ineffectual studies, poor writing and substandard ideology are harmful to the party and the nation, he elaborated. He added that the release of the Eight-Point Regulation is extremely pertinent; if the whole country can truly grasp their import, it will be very conducive for solving problems on a fundamental level.   Gao Quanli, member of the Party Group and the vice-president of CASS, briefed on the documents relevant to the Eight-Point Regulation at a CASS meeting on December 31st, 2012. Wang Weiguang, vice secretary of the Party Group and the executive vice-president of CASS underlined that CASS should integrate its practices with the Eight-Point Regulation. Specifically he suggested CASS carry out a thorough national investigation with regard to major theoretical and practice issues of the nation concerned; this investigation could provide substantive information for government decision-making. He also said CASS leaders should take the vanguard in conducting in-depth research, engaging with the masses and promoting the innovation within philosophy and the social sciences .   According to Huang Haotao, member of the Party Group and secretary-in-general of CASS, CASS has already drafted a proposal with a series of suggestions on how to implement the Eight-Point Regulation, including specific requirements with regard to different areas of the Academy’s function. For instance, concerning research, the Regulation suggests that CASS strengthen investigative research and foster an excellent writing style. Regarding academic conferences, it notes that their overall quality should be improved, while the budget for conferences and events should be strictly enforced; additionally, reports on leadership conferences should be simplified. The Regulation also advises that the wide range of documents printed internally should be simplified and streamlined, while public expenses should be strictly controlled, visits abroad should be reasonable, and general inspection should be strengthened.   “For social scientists, the essence of improving our workstyle lies in reducing formalism and advocating pragmatism and realistic goals. Rigid thinking and an improper writing style are characteristics of formalism; formalism leads to mental lethargy and numbness,” said Tian Feng, chairman of the Guandong Social Sciences Association. “It’s good for academia to champion thrift and incorruption,” he added. “In fact, social sciences are suffering from a lack of funding, so it’s important for us to tightly control our spending, and make sure funds are used for academic purposes.”   Shen Guoming, secretary of the Party Group and full-time vice chairman of the Shanghai Social Sciences Association (SSSA) noted that the SSSA has imposed a series of strong regulations on public expenses, cars usage and year-end bonuses, as well as strictly prohibit promotional gifts and cash gifts.   “No-nonsense attitudes are the most pragmatic for the social science circle,” Zhang Haohan, secretary of the Party Group and executive vice chairman of Jiangsu Social Sciences Association (JSSA), commented. “We should devote ourselves to satisfying the demands of the country, looking into the development of the most pressing issues, understanding the thought of the general populace and studying how to solve these significant issues.” Zhang added that the JSSA considers implementing the Central Government’s Eight-Point Regulation and the Jiangsu provincial Party committee’s Ten Provisions as important political responsibilities, and that it would channel its efforts both toward fundamental theoretical research and applied research.   Heilongjiang Provincial Academy of Social Sciences has begun carrying out three guidelines to advance academic practice: connecting with national organizations, fostering global outreach and making contributions to research. Qu Wei, the president of Heilongjiang Provincial Academy of Social Sciences, elaborated that in “connecting with national organizations,” Heilongjiang Provincial Academy of Social Sciences tries to engage with first-class think tanks in China, in order to improve its research. Continuing, he explained that “global outreach” encourages the Academy to enhance international cooperation and exchange, keeping in minds a global perspective when setting development strategy. Lastly, he said that the Academy “makes contributions” to studies and investigations.   Universities such as Sun Yat-Sen University, Southwest Jiaotong University and other universities have taken the Eight-Point Regulation as their basis and set regulations and rules which reflect each university’s actual situation. He Yun'an, deputy secretary of the Party Group of Southwest Jiaotong University, expounded that his university will reinforce its strength with regard to combating corruption, upholding integrity and resolutely prohibiting extravagant and wasteful behavior.    The Chinese version appeared in Chinese Social Sciences Today, No. 401, Jan.7, 2013                                                      Translated by Zhang Mengying Chinese link: http://www.csstoday.net/Item/41734.aspx