Fact Check
Resolutions from research
By Lan Xinzhen  ·  2023-03-31  ·   Source: NO.14 APRIL 6, 2023

Soon after taking the oath of office on March 11, Premier Li Qiang paid a visit to Hunan Province to learn about local advanced manufacturing. Other top officials also undertook study trips around the country, including Li Xi, Secretary of the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection of the Communist Party of China (CPC), who traveled to Hubei Province.

The General Office of the CPC Central Committee recently issued a document requiring the whole Party to promote the practice of research. The officials' projects focus on issues related to economic and social development. After exploring these problems, solutions will be identified through further research.

At his press conference following the conclusion of the First Session of the 14th National People's Congress, during which he was sworn in, Premier Li said the government will further transform its functions, make its work more efficient and improve its conduct. The government will focus on several priorities, with the first being to promote research. "I have worked in local governments for a long time. My experience is that when you sit in the office, you see lots of problems. But when you reach out to the people, you see all kinds of solutions," he added. As the government faces arduous and complex tasks and high expectations from the people, it must improve its capacity for governance. Conducting field research is an important approach to rational and democratic governance.

It is a long-held truism that, among Chinese decision makers, there is no right to speak and no right to make decisions without conducting research. The Party has a notable tradition of maintaining close ties with the public. President Xi Jinping once said, "We need to look to the people as our teachers, learn from them, stay engaged with them, and know what they are concerned about. We should conduct in-depth research to identify prominent problems and difficulties faced by the people, heed their views, and extend their good practices." When he was working in Zhengding in Hebei Province in the early 1980s, Xi visited all of the 221 villages of the county. A lot of documents and decisions made during that period were attributed to his research on the ground. The same is true of all his tenures as a local and national leader. 

The newly issued document demands that officials at all levels conduct research into the most striking issues in their work. When problems are discovered, they should be documented, along with the parties responsible, remedies required and deadlines for their solution. Problems that can be solved quickly should be dealt with immediately. Those that can't be tackled immediately must not be disregarded, but should be monitored until they are solved.

The document requires officials to glean firsthand information and ask for solutions from the public by visiting villages, urban residential communities, businesses, hospitals and schools, among other places. By doing so, they may find what holes in their work need to be plugged. They are required to refer to case studies when solving problems and work to find even better solutions. There must also be supervision to ensure they are really conducting tangible research and tackling problems.

China is currently faced with new strategic opportunities and missions for economic growth, at a time when the international situation is volatile and its domestic reforms have been impacted by a wide range of issues. In the face of increasingly severe challenges, China needs to find solutions through fact finding and consensus building.

Copyedited by G.P. Wilson  

Comments to lanxinzhen@cicgamericas.com 

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