10th Annual Meeting of the Chinese Community of Political Science and International Studies Held in Beijing

On June 26 and 27, 2017, the “10th Annual Meeting of the Chinese Community of Political Science and International Studies” was held at Liaoning International Hotel, Beijing. The annual meeting was sponsored by the Institute for International Relations, Tsinghua University and has always been dedicated to building academic exchange and cooperation platforms for academic fellows in political science and international relations. It is a large-scale academic annual meeting in China’s social science circle rendering the biggest influence. The annual meeting this year is themed with “world politics in an era of uncertainty”, attracting domestic and overseas experts and scholars to have heated discussions on the current international situation with complex and profound changes and on domestic and foreign policy adjustments of major countries. The meeting this year includes 82 panel discussions, attracting over 700 people to attend.

2017 marks the 10th anniversary of the Chinese Community of Political Science and International Studies. At 6:00 P.M., June 26, a meeting was held at Liaoning International Hotel commemorating the Community meeting’s 10th anniversary. Prof. Yan Xuetong, Dean of the Institute for International Relations, Tsinghua University, delivered a speech titled “China’s Rise and Development Directions of Theories on International Relations”. Prof. Chen Qi, Director of Tsinghua Center for US-China Relations, hosted this meeting.

Prof. Yan Xuetong pointed out that, with Trump taking office, domestic and foreign policy adjustments of the US and the rise of anti-establishment in developed countries were significant new phenomena in world politics that can’t be explained by the existing theories and that theoretical innovation in political science should be able to explain new changes in world politics. He said anti-establishment was not populism, but a political victory of anti-liberal elites in the US. He believed anti-establishment was not a reflection of the divergence between elites and the lower-class populace, but an alliance between anti-liberal elites and the general public whose interests were hurt in globalization, a kind of reaction when liberalism went to the extreme.

Prof. Yan put forward three misunderstandings towards theoretical innovation methods. According to Yan, firstly, policy analysis is not the right way to develop theories. At most, it only serves to summarize policy principles rather than developing theories on international relations. Secondly, the research method of dialectical speculation is oriented towards philosophical theory instead of political science theory. Political science theory belongs to empirical theory that can explain specific actual problems, rather than being a general way of thinking. Thirdly, theoretical construction adopting the method of “word creation” should not be advocated. Scholars should develop theories based on new phenomena, instead of creating unsound or subjective theories under the “guidance” of concepts.

Prof. Yan reviewed the history of the Community meeting over the past decade and the development of China’s international relation academic circle over the past decade. He stressed that Chinese scholars should bear both historic and academic responsibilities for China’s rise and the complex and profound changes in the current global situation. He urged young scholars to aim high, surpass the international relation academic circle that is dominated by the West and the US in particular, and lead a new trend in theoretical innovation.

In the end, experts and students present actively posed questions to Prof. Yan. In answering the question as to the Community meeting’s prospect in the upcoming ten years, Prof. Yan said that the meeting’s international influence would be greatly improved in the decade ahead and that this would be a natural result of China’s rise and the constant improvement of the theoretical level of international relations in China.