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PKU-Oxford Joint Forum on State and Global Governance held at Oxford University

NOV . 21 2019
Peking University, Nov 19, 2019: From November 6 to 7, Forum on “National Governance and Global Governance from a Comparative Perspective” jointly organized by the Institute of State Governance Studies, Peking University and the Blavatnik School of Government from Oxford University was held at Blavatnik School of Government of Oxford University. More than 30 scholars from universities and scientific research institutions shared and exchanged their academic views on “national governance and global governance”.

Professor Ngaire Woods, Dean of Blavatnik School of government, Oxford University, reviewed the achievements of the first “National Governance Forum” between Oxford University and Peking University in 2018, positively affirmed the cooperation on national governance and global governance innovation research in this forum, and hoped that the participating scholars would share diverse views on effective national policies and management in China and the UK, and carry out discussions and exchanges about the further exploration of research themes and possible path of the future cooperation between the two schools.
Ngaire Woods addresseing an opening speech

Professor Wang Puqu, Dean of the Institute of State Governance Studies of Peking University, pointed out that national governance and global governance are the common academic topics faced by Chinese and British scholars, and exchanging views on governance with a comparative perspective had important academic value and practical significance in an era of change. On behalf of the Chinese delegation, Wang expressed sincere thanks to Oxford University for its organization and warm support for the forum, and wished the Institute of State Governance Studies of Peking University and Oxford University’s Blavatnik School of Government to continue to further promote institutionalized cooperation.
Professor Wang Puqu addressing an opening speech

The forum was divided into three sub forums. Chinese and British scholars offered multi-disciplinary and multi-perspective academic expositions around three topics, and initiated in-depth discussions with all participants.

Forum One was hosted by Ngaire woods, under the theme “The Operation of Bureaucracy”.

Forum One "The Operation of Bureaucracy"

Professor Xu Xianglin, director of the academic committee of the Institute of State Governance Studies of Peking University analyzed the relationship between bureaucracy and political mobilization in Chinese governance system, pointing out that the organizational mobilization system of the Communist Party of China was the starting point for the study of China’s politics, with the “block structure” as a typical feature of China’s administrative system. The mutual cooperation and restriction of political mobilization and bureaucratic system promoted the development of China’s public governance.

Zhang Changdong, associate professor of the Institute of State Governance Studies of Peking University analyzed the relationship between China’s financial federalism and bureaucracy, and pointed out that the main reform focus of China’s tax system was compliance, cooperation, rationality of power division and agency issues.

Ruth Dixon, a researcher of Blavatnik School of Government, introduced the shared services of local governments in the UK, and explained with specific data that 97% of local governments in the UK had been in the partnership of shared services. The sharing services owned its rationality in that it not only saved administrative costs, but also improved the effect of economies of scale.

Margarita Gomez Garcia, director of Human Resources Laboratory, Blawanik School of Government, introduced the Human Resources Laboratory. He believed that improving government performance called for focus on not only policy process, but also technical and personnel elements. Research shows that when a strong government provides public services, civil servants perform better.

Forum Two was presided over by Thomas Hale, associate professor from University of Oxford, under the theme “Social Welfare and Public Goods Supply
Forum Two “Social Welfare and Public Goods Supply”

Professor Yan Jirong, executive vice dean of the Institute of State Governance Studies, Peking University, introduced anti-poverty theories and practices of Chinese state governance. He stressed that from 1978 to 2020, the incidence of poverty in China had dropped from 10.2% to 1.7%. He further analyzed the implementation mechanism for this world-astonishing achievement.

Bao Yayun, a researcher from PKU Research Center For Chinese Politics, took the “Visiting & Benefiting & Gathering” activity in Xinjiang as an example to illustrate the innovative practices in Chinese community governance. Based on the qualitative research on 50 cases, he elaborated on the positive functions of the activity on governance of the primary-level society, such as maintaining social stability, supplying social assistance, promoting economic development and construction, etc.

Doctor José María Valenzuela from Blavatnik School of Government compared the decarbonization governance mode in electric-power industry of China, Mexico, Chile and the UK. According to empirical observation of China Electric Power Planning & Engineering Institute and China Renewable Energy Engineering Institute (Center for Renewable Energy Development), he stated that the degree of nationalization in both China and Mexico is rather high. He also noted that the independence of electric cooperation and complexity of supervision system were thought-provoking. 

Forum Three was presided over by Thomas Hale, associate professor from University of Oxford, under the theme “Good Governance and Global Governance”.
Forum Three “Good Governance and Global Governance”

Peng Yingying, associate researcher of Institute of State Governance Studies, Peking University, interpreted the Chinese developing mode in western documents from the perspective of “social governance assessment”. Analyzing from levels of governance body, method, platform, object and effects, she pointed out that social governance assessment was an administrative measure to improve efficiency of the government and a supervision system, motivating officials of primary level to reform and innovate in this field.

Nik Kirby, a researcher from Blavatnik School of Government, explained the moral ideal of good governance from the view of political philosophy. He pointed out that in both Chinese and Western culture, a good government consisted of institutional and personal levels. In order to establish a good government, as he noted, we should take democratic accountability as the measure, aiming to achieve system integrity.

Liu Shuyang, associate researcher from the Institute of State Governance Studies, Peking University proposed a Chinese solution for global public goods supply, which surpassed the traditional hegemonic stability theory and Neo-liberalism Institutionalism. Promoting equal consultation and mutual benefits, this method reflects unique Chinese wisdom.

Thomas Hale, associate professor of Blavatnik School of Government, discussed the future of “the Belt and Road initiative”. He stated that this agreement was highly associated with geopolitical pattern and international cooperation. He specifically analyzed the sustainability of the initiative in terms of resources, personnel training and evaluation system.

After the forum, Wang Puqu and Ngaire Woods further communicated in terms of enhancing cooperation, determined the theme for the forum next year, and discussed about future collaborative plans.

In the evening of November 7, invited by Ngaire Woods, Wang delivered a speech named “How the ‘Party-Government’ Structure Functions in Contemporary Chinese Governance” in University of Oxford and had a heated academic discussion with professors and students of University of Oxford.

Besides the forum, delegation of Chinese scholars visited Oxford University Press and Dickson Poon University of Oxford China Centre. The two sides had a deep discussion on collaboration and academic studies. Dominic Byatt, politics editor of department of humanities and social sciences, Oxford University Press, introduced the publishing condition of political works and suggested cooperating with Chinese scholars in publishing works. Rana Mitter, director of the University of Oxford China Centre, introduced the research project and responded actively towards communication and collaboration of the two institutions

Written by: Chen Yubing & Cao Tianyi
Edited by: Wei Yunqi
Source: PKU News (Chinese)