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Research on the Mechanism of University Think Tanks Influencing Public Policy Process in New Media Environment—A Case Study of “The Belt and Road” Initiative

DOI: 10.4236/ajibm.2018.83029, PP. 446-460

Keywords: New Media, University Think Tanks, Policy Process, The Belt And Road, Multiple Streams

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Abstract:

As a critical component of Chinese think tanks, university think tanks of China have become an important bridge between policy communication and academic research for their professional research capacities and positive social influence. Hence, university think tanks, which have significant influences in the research field of “the Belt and Road” policy, were selected as the subject of this paper, in which their research orientations, research findings, and academic trends are analyzed from the perspective of new media. On this basis, the participation mechanism of university think tanks in “the Belt and Road” policy field is summarized according to the research features and functions of different types of university think tanks, such as think tanks established by comprehensive universities, foreign studies universities, or other local universities. The research findings reveal that university think tanks tend to spread their opinions and suggestions to the public or decision makers through various media methods (e.g. website, microblog, WeChat, forum construction, and news reports), mainly aiming at influencing public opinions and decisions. Furthermore, new media and university think tanks can have effective communication with the public and the government in accordance with their specific features, thus creating a mutually accessible and influential policy network structure. In this network structure, media exposure and public opinions become the problem flow during the research on “the Belt and Road” policy. Then, university think tanks and media comments put forward feasible solutions in response to relevant problems, thus forming the policy flow. Next, related policy suggestions driven by public opinions and social interest groups will become a political flow to affect policy activists. Eventually, strategic decisions will be made, realizing the expression of public opinions and the communication of policy output.

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