The 10th Annual Conference of Chinese Community of Political Science and International Studies Held in Beijing

The 10th Annual Conference of Chinese Community of Political Science and International Studies was held on 26th-27th June, 2017 at Liaoning International Hotel, Beijing. Hosted by Tsinghua University Institute of International Studies, the conference has been always committed to building academic exchange and cooperation platforms for the circles of political science and international relations, and it is a large-scale and the most influential academic annual conference in the social science circles of China. This year, the conference focuses on the theme of “world politics in the era of uncertainty”, on which specialists and scholars from all over the world had heated discussions on the complicated, profound and changing international situation and the internal and external affairs of major countries. The conference consisted of 82 seminars, which totally attracted over 700 participants.

2017 marks the 10th anniversary of the conference, for which the commemoration was held at 6:00 p.m., 26th June in Liaoning International Hotel. Prof. Yan Xuetong, Dean of the Institute of International Studies, gave a speech “China’s Rise and the Development Direction of International Relations Theory”. The event was presided over by Prof. Chen Qi, Dean of Tsinghua Center for U.S.-China Relation.

Prof. Yan Xuetong pointed out that U.S. adjustment of internal and external affairs after Trump is elected president and the anti-establishment rising in developed countries are significant phenomena of world politics that cannot be interpreted with existing theories, and that innovation of political science theories should be designed to interpret new changes in world politics. He said that anti-establishment isn’t populism; instead, it’s a political success of the anti-liberalism elites in the U.S.; rather than reflecting the divergence between elites and the lower class, it’s a revolution on the extreme end of liberalism that embodies the combination of anti-liberalism elites and the masses whose benefit is damaged in globalization.

Prof. Yan Xuetong indicated that theoretical innovation is misunderstood in three aspects among quite a few people. First, policy review isn’t the correct method for developing theories; it can summarize policy principles at best, rather than developing international relations theories. Second, the dialectical methodology-oriented philosophical theory isn’t a political theory; a political theory is an empirical theory that can be used to interpret specific realistic questions, rather than an ordinary thinking method. Third, the “word creation”-based theoretical construction shouldn’t be advocated; instead, scholars should develop theories on the basis of new phenomena, rather than creating concept-oriented theories that have no empirical foundation or break away from objective reality.

While looking back on the course of the conference and the development of China’s international studies in the decade, Prof. Yan Xuetong underlined that Chinese scholars are obliged to shoulder the historical responsibility and academic burden for China’s rise and the profound and complicated change of the world situation, and encouraged young scholars to cherish high aspirations for exceeding the international studies of the western world, especially those led by the U.S., and guiding new tides of theoretical innovation.

In the end, specialists present at the conference asked Prof. Yan Xuetong many questions. The conference will be much more influential in the international community for the next decade, as a result of China’s rise and the constant improvement in China’s theoretical level of international relations, said Prof. Yan Xuetong when answering questions about the conference’s prospects in the following decade.