A more pragmatic Chinese foreign policy and a more bureaucratic policy-making process have increased the opportunities for China's civilian research institutes to affect foreign policy. Beijing's growing involvement in the international community has created increased demand for research and analysis to aid Chinese leaders in making informed decisions. A more pluralistic and competitive policy environment has given analysts at think tanks more influence, but has also created new competition from analysts and authors working outside the traditional research institute system. This article examines the evolving role of Chinese civilian foreign policy research institutes, their relationships to policy makers, and the pathways through which they provide input into Chinese foreign policy formulation. It provides an overview of the key civilian research institutes, identifies important trends affecting them, and examines the roles and functions they play. The article concludes with an assessment of sources of policy influence within the Chinese foreign policy process.
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