Chinese social studies seek greater involvement in global network

11:33, May 27, 2011      

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China is taking measures to increase its influence in global social sciences, a senior Party publicity official said at a news conference on Thursday.

Wang Xiaohui, deputy director and spokesman for the Publicity Department of the Communist Party of China Central Committee, said the country has little global influence at present, but it has started to fund translations of outstanding works on social sciences into foreign languages and publish them overseas.

Last year, 13 projects were funded, and some works concerning China's economic and social development have been published through mainstream publishing channels, he said.

"We will improve the mechanism in order to ensure more works are read by people worldwide," he said.

In another move, the country will also encourage and subsidize social science scholars to communicate and exchange views with their foreign counterparts, he said.

According to the World Social Science Report 2010 released by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization and International Social Science Council, Western countries still dominate the world's social science studies and three-fourths of the world's social science journals are published by North American and European countries.

Explaining the obstacles that have hampered China's efforts to enhance its influence in global social sciences until now, She Zhiyuan, director of the National Planning Office of Philosophy and Social Science, said their inability to write English means many Chinese scholars' works are not read by international readers.

Deng Zhenglai, director of the Institute for Advanced Study in Social Sciences at Shanghai-based Fudan University, said another obstacle is that many Chinese scholars do not see their foreign counterparts as target readers.

In addition, the lack of any incentive mechanism has also hampered their enthusiasm to publish their works overseas, he said.

"In fact, many foreign scholars are eager to know the latest studies in social sciences in China. But there are very few Chinese studies available to them," said Deng.

Deng said China is still on the fringes of the world's social science map. To increase the country's say in the short term, he suggested translating and introducing outstanding Chinese studies in subjects such as archeology, culture and art to the world.

In the medium and long term, he said, China must introduce its own creative theories and methodologies and form a social science structure with Chinese characteristics.

China's annual State-level funding for the social sciences increased from 220 million yuan ($34 million) in 2006 to 800 million yuan this year.

Source: China Daily
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