We all need help from time to time, and political officials are no different. The public was given a rare glimpse of how the central government prepares to tackle policies in a recent Beijing Times story, which revealed that the CPC Central Committee's political bureau holds "study sessions," complete with guest lecturers, for officials at Zhongnanhai, headquarters of central government in downtown Beijing.
A study session, which is typically held once every 40 days, focuses on one topic, in which the guest lecturer is an expert. With sessions being attended by some of China's top leadership, including members of the political bureau, ministers and heads of state council departments, it can be said that these lecturers are helping shape policies that will dictate the future of the country -- but who are they?
Who are these lecturers?
Since the study sessions began in 2002, over 160 experts and scholars from a wide array of fields have been invited to conduct lectures at Zhongnanhai.
The lecturers all possess intimate knowledge of their respective fields, which include economics, law, agriculture, environmental protection and natural resources. Likewise, all have diversified backgrounds, with experts coming from top universities, CPC party schools at all levels, academies of sciences and research associations.
To date, more than half of all lecturers who have been invited to Zhongnanhai spent time being educated overseas, according to the Beijing Times.
Where do these experts come from?
About 31 experts from the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences have been asked to speak at Zhongnanhai, the highest number of experts invited from a single organization. The Development Research Center of the State Council is a distant second, with 13 of its experts being invited to host a study session.
In addition, the Academy of Macroeconomic Research with the National Development and Reform Commission and Renmin University of China received 11 invitations each.
How is a session's content determined?
Relevant ministries and organizations are in charge of arranging topics for the study sessions. They would also select lecture candidates to central authorities for approval.
Once the lecturer is approved, they have three months to prepare before they finally give the lecture at Zhongnanhai.
However, there have been exceptions. Gao Peiyong, head of the National Academy of Economic Strategy under CASS, spent three years preparing his lecture on "dealing with inner conflicts among people properly in the new period."
Gao said, as early as 2007, the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences received the invitation. However, more than 10 amendments had been made before the lecture material was finalized on the basis of their repeated research, seminars, and even visits to certain bureaus that deal with letters and complaints sent from the ordinary citizens, ten amendments have finalized.