Think tanks continue to develop and contribute to Macao

To better integrate into the strategy of national development, the Macao society has become more aware of the importance of think tanks. Photo: FILE


In 2019, the Macao Special Administrative Region (SAR) observed the 20th anniversary of its return to China. Through two decades of development, it has made remarkable achievements in many areas such as politics, the economy, culture and people’s livelihood, thanks to the great support of the central government and the joint efforts of the Macao government and all walks of life in the SAR. Also, Macao’s think tanks have played an indispensable part in enriching and developing Macao’s practices of “one country, two systems,” making government decisions more legitimate and democratic and promoting the region’s economic and social prosperity.

Macao’s think tanks came into being in the era of Portuguese Macao and peaked during the transition before reunification as many issues concerning future development needed to be researched and tackled in that critical period of transfer of sovereignty. At the time, many different types of think tanks emerged. They made special contributions to the smooth transition and stable development after the reunification. Since 2012, President Xi Jinping has made a series of important arguments and instructions on building a new type of think tank with Chinese characteristics and establishing a sound decision-making consultation system. Meanwhile, in recent years, the country has proposed the Belt and Road initiative and the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area. To better integrate into the overall strategy of national development and to boost prosperity and progress, all sectors of the Macao society have become more aware of the importance of think tank construction. In the new era, think tanks have sprouted with the requirements of the times, and more social groups have named themselves think tanks.

At present, the local think tanks in Macao are flourishing. The SAR government has established government-type think tanks within the system and also encouraged private think tanks to contribute constructive thought. However, there are many flaws in the development of Macao think tanks. First, the quality of the think tank team and research results vary. Second, the think tanks have failed to achieve great international recognition, lacking popularity and influence in the international community. Third, there is a shortage of leading figures and talent training mechanisms targeting think tanks, which is not conducive to long-term development. Fourth, resource integration and allocation require improvement, and the coordinated development of think tanks is insufficient.

In this regard, think tanks must first attach importance to cultivating talent, strengthening team building and improving the quality of results. Based on these goals, think tanks should strive to internationalize research fields, research perspectives, talent teams and sphere of influence. Secondly, the lack of human resources can also be eliminated through the introduction of foreign talent and taking advantage of the resources of the Chinese mainland. Synergy requires think tanks to abandon zero-sum thinking and work together to solve common challenges, thus achieving inclusive, sustainable and shared development.

In the new era, Macao is embracing more opportunities, requiring think tanks to strive for new development. They will not only provide intellectual support for the SAR government, but also strenghthen discourse and influence in the international community, especially in the Portuguese-speaking countries. These think tanks must seize the momnet, confront the challenges and seek a path based on clear orientation, collaborative openness and deep cooperation, thus contributing to Macao’s prospeirty.

Ye Guiping is vice president of City University of Macao.