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									        The Study into Administration Science in China and The

             Construction of State-level Major Research Base

                            By: Chen Rui-lian, Professor
           Research Center of Public Administration, Zhongshan University

                                     Cai Li-hui
                             Doctor, Associate Professor
           Research Center of Public Administration, Zhongshan University

The theory of administration science was introduced into China in 1930s. After the
PRC was founded in 1949, many higher learning institutions in China have conducted
related research in terms of the administration science. However, ever since the
adjustments into the organization of colleges and universities as well as the
composition of subjects at the then times in 1952, due to certain divergence existing
in the understanding of the science of administration, the administration science,
together with politics, sciences of law and sociology, were cancelled, which caused an
unfortunate interruption of the study into the science of administration. Later until
China adopted her policy of reform & opening-up to the outside, the science of
administration came to be resumed and developed at the capacity of an independent
branch science under politics. In the following period, thanks to the transfer of focus
work tasks by the State, transformation of the then politics from the theory of class
struggle to the theory of state administration & national construction, and due to the
needs in response to the theory of social renovation & development, all these
historical background situations have worked together to form an importantly solid
impetus to the restoration of the science of administration in China. In recent years,
the development of the socialist market economy system and democratic politics have
also boosted the development of the science of administration. Nowadays, whether for
study of the practical problems existing in China’s reform into her administration
system, or in terms of the research upon the construction of academic subjects system,
the science of administration has already become one of the most appealing subjects
in the nationwide research of social sciences in China.

1. Restoration & Development of the Research of Science of Administration in
   1980s in China

In the entire 1980s, China’s research into the science of administration underwent four
different stages inclusive of the restoration of the position of science of administration,
reorganization of academic organizations & institutions, active organization of

academic activities and laying down the basis for development of the science of
administration. In 1980, the Chinese Society of Politics Study was founded, which
laid down the restoration and re-organization of the science of administration in China.
Later in 1982, the Chinese Society of Politics Study held a National Seminar on
Administration Science in Shanghai Fu-Dan University to actively advocate research
on the topic of administration science. In 1983, the then China Ministry of Labor and
Personnel Management worked together with China Academy of Social Science to
undertake the organization of United Nations: International Seminar on Reform to the
Civil Servant System, which was attended by the scholars & governmental officials
both in China and from more than 20 other countries. This seminar has brought forth a
great boosting impetus and profound influence upon the subsequent China’s research
into the civil servants system and study into the science of administration in China. In
August 1984, the Public Administration Office under China State Council and the
then Ministry of Labor and Personnel Management held the Seminar on Science of
Administration in Jilin city, where the participants discussed on the necessity and
importance of carrying out research on the science of administration in terms of both
theory and practices, and put forward the proposal of construction of the
administration subjects system with Chinese characteristics and certain basic
principles to be followed by the Chinese science of administration, and further
published publicly the paper titled as A Preliminary Exploration into the Chinese
Science of Admin Management, which marked a new starting point of the restoration
and development of the science of administration in China. Later in December 31 of
1984, the preparations team for establishment of the Chinese Society of Public
Administration was set up; in 1985, the monthly periodical Chinese Administration
was launched; in July 1987, the Chinese Research Society of Teaching Science of
Administration; in October 1988, the Chinese Society of Admin Management was
officially established. Later in November 1989, the Seminar titled as Theory and
Practices of Reform to the China’s Administrative System was held in Liuzhou city in
Guangxi Province, during which profound discussion was conducted concerning the
tasks on China’s reform to her administrative system, and the relationship between the
reform to the administrative system and the reforms to the economic system and to the
political system. As a result, these discussions have further promoted the continuing
development of the study of and reform to China’s research on the science of

The book named Science of Admin Management, which Professor Xia Shu-zhang
with Zhongshan University acted as the editor-in-chief was published in 1983, was
the very 1st tutorial book after China resumed her study into the science of
administration, and thus has formulated a basic framework for the basic theory of the
restored Chinese science of administration. Until the medium and later terms of 1980s,
a team of research personnel composed of both theoretical workers in the subject of
administration science and those practical workers in the circle of the same science
has primarily come into being; and also a batch of national and local research
organizations of administration science have been set up; the faculty of administration

science and related subjects have been resumed in a lot of higher learning institutions
and students are admitted as majors of the science of administration. Many colleges of
administration science at province and city levels have been launched, and the State
College of Administration Science was started in 1988. As a result, the size and
standards of training professionals in this science have been increased and enhanced,
the academic exchanges in the same science become more often occurring as well as
transnational communications in terms of the learning and study in this circle. At
present, China has spread in a comprehensive way her research framework in the field
of administration science, which also indicates that the Chinese science of
administration has gained its status as an independent subject; and thus China has
accomplished her task of resuming the study of administration science.

As a whole, the science of administration was resumed and got to gradual
development in China in 1980s. Until December 1989, there have been nearly 200
varieties of tutorial books and related introductory reading materials available in
China on the subject of the science of administration. However, as some comments
went at that time, “China’s study in the science of administration basically remained
in a stage of extensive study, and the research methods are relatively outdated and
within a narrow range”.

In terms of the contents of research on the science of administration, China’s solid and
proven accomplishments in studying this science are mainly manifested in the
following aspects:

1) Conducted study into and elaborated upon the category and system of the science
of administration. After restoration and re-construction of the subjects of the science,
the task of priority was to study into the object, system and category of the theory of
administration science. On one hand, such study was carried out through holding
academic communications and exchanges; on the other hand, publishing tutorial
materials helped put into order and also standardize such study activities. As a result,
such basic research range and frame system have been formed including
administrative environment, function, system, organization, cadres, decision-making,
execution, supervision, culture, information, personnel, finance, office affairs,
efficiency and reform as well as administrative development etc.

2) Conducted research and put forward the goal of constructing a theoretical system
of administration science with Chinese characteristics. The development of
administration science in China have to base itself on the research of the same science
of other nations, so as to learn and absorb proven accomplishments of the foreign
counterparts, which is also an important precondition for development the
administration science. Meanwhile, while developing administration science in China,
it is not wise to neglect the historical development of administration science in the
Chinese history. Therefore, we have to pay attention to laying stress on the association
between the administration science and other sciences and the mutualism relationship

among them. To this aim, the Chinese circle on administration science research put
forward that under the precondition of constructing a theory of administration science
bearing Chinese characteristics, efforts must be made to explore into and gain
experience in China’s practices of administration in the meantime it is essential to
absorb and utilize the foreign theories of the same science, summarize the features
and basic laws of the administration practices in the modern society of China, attach
importance to research into the actual problems existing in the administrative reform,
and carry out study into the thoughts & experience in terms of administration sector of
the leaders’ groups and leading cadres since the new democratic revolution of China,
as well as to make efforts to explore how to construct a theoretical system of
administration science bearing Chinese characteristics.

3) Paid attention to the practical problems in China’s administrative sector, and
carried out theme studies into such existing problems in the administrative reform as
transformation of the governmental role and functions, division of powers of the State
& local governments, division of administrative regions, reform into government
bodies, personnel arrangements and management, civil servants system, departmental
affairs, and logistics reform, construction of a legal system for the administration
operations, as well as administrative supervision and anti-corruption construction, and
how to enhance the efficiency of administrative operations. Besides, a preliminary
framework has been drawn up for the reform to the administrative system. In early
1980s, the reform to the administrative system was promoted at the capacity of a
component part of the reform to the political system of China. For this reason, the
research fellows of administration science has organized a systematic reasoning upon
the importance and basic contents of the reform to the administrative system, and the
steps & methods of promoting such reform. Other studies on related topics such as
major topics set forth by the State for the social science research field including “A
Reform to China’s Administration”, “Reform to China’s Personnel System”,
“Research into the Thoughts of Deng Xiao-ping’s on the Administration” were also
conducted and led to the proposal going that it is necessary to plan the reform to the
administrative system of China at the capacity of a relatively independent reform field
for overall promotion, which finally succeeded. The accomplishments of such studies
above have been adopted by or gained recognition from the decision-making
management. This has already effected a positive bearing to boost the reform to the
governmental agencies, transformation of the governmental role and functions,
promote the spreading of civil servants system, carry out the administrative
target-oriented management and post duties system, reinforce the anti-corruption
construction as well as to improve the construction of legal system for the
administrative operations.

4) Shortly after the subjects of administration science were resumed in China, both the
contents and methods of research on the science manifested a “transformation” trend.
The research contents of the administration science were developing to focus on
certain special topics; and some new study fields were explored, and certain

brand-new branch subjects were established. At the beginning of resuming these
subjects, the study focus mainly stayed in introducing from the west and Taiwan
region the administration theories, and Chinese scholars doing such research mainly
were devoted to compiling papers and summaries on the science. Later, they gradually
explored into some new study fields, and tried to include some new branch subjects
into the administration science (including the leadership science, policy science,
administrative case, history of administrative systems, and thoughts of administration);
studies were also organized into the admin at grassroots and in departments, thus
many research results were gained in terms of the county-level administration
research, grassroots administrative study, study of municipal administration,
educational administration, administration of sanitary body, traffic administration,
administration for commerce & industry regulation institutions etc. Besides, many
research projects were launched upon the administration science of other countries
and their administrative systems. In terms of the research methods, China has already
developed from a simple utilization of deductive method and summarizing those solid
experiences, gradually into a comprehensive use of comparison-based method, case
analysis method and many other means. Moreover, quantitative study and analysis
were carried out by use of systematic theory method, mathematic model and PC

In short, China’s research on and development of administration science in 1980s
stayed in a stage of getting started still. Thus, the main research characteristics in this
stage were: first, close attention was paid to the practices in China’s reform to
administrative system, which contributed to the development of China’s
administrative reform in 1980s. From the very first day of resuming her science of
administration, China has attached so much important to the guiding influence of this
science on China’s practices of administration. Therefore, the mainstream of research
on administration science in China always focused on the basic problems and major
actual questions existing in China’s road for improving her administration efficiency.
First, the administration science has corrected the improper concept of treating the
administration as simply a part of logistics work from a viewpoint of basic theory, and
thus built up a commonly recognized understanding of considering the administration
as a science for explorations, and has demonstrated the significance of this science.
Subsequently, with the spreading of democratic and legal system constructions and
the reform to the admin system of China, the research on the administration science
has provided a concrete goal for development of China’s administrative system. The
theoretical research on the same science in China accomplished proven results in the
field of reform to the administrative system, which actually gave an impetus to the
reform and development of China’s admin system. Second, China has introduced a lot
of and thus learnt a lot from the research and study results from overseas and Hong
Kong as well as Taiwan regions, and also published hundreds of varieties of tutorial
materials and works on the administration science, thus effecting to certain extent on
the dissemination of the administration science knowledge. The restoration and
re-construction of administrative science subjects in China have also gained a rapid

growth in as short as 10 years, which was not usual in the social science field in terms
of the degree of necessity of the society for it, its developing speed and its present size
of influence.

2. Development and Penetration of the Chinese Science of Administration in

In 1990s, with the increasingly profound understanding of the Chinese people upon
the mutual relations between planning and market demands, the domestic economic
relations and economic system in China have undergone great changes, which
facilitated China’s reform and opening-up progression, and her reforms to the
economic system and admin system as well. In particular, with the establishment of
China’s goal of constructing a socialist market economy system, China has spread her
reform into deeper layers and in a more comprehensive range across the country. This
has also put forward many questions in terms of administration sector, which need to
be scientifically answered. The further development of reform and opening-up to the
outside also involved China into the general trends of worldwide common
administrative innovations and creation. Such a global social development tendency
determines that the research on the science of administration possesses such important
features as mutualism with multiple subjects.

In terms of its research contents, the accomplishments and progresses of China during
1990s on the research of administration science were mainly manifested in such areas:

1) Studied the administrative reform under the conditions of a socialist market
economy. Upon the research in this field, 3 layers remained as the limelight. First,
studied the role and functions of the government for the social and economic
development on the basis of basic theory of administration science, and studied the
relations between the market and government and those between the society and
government, as well as studied into the functions of the government itself. Thus, such
study objects came into being as the governmental management system, operations of
the government, powers and functions of the government and the relations between
governments etc. Besides, scholars deeply elaborated a certain theory about the
governmental system of today’s China, and formed a shaped theory upon the research
and explanation of the relations between the society and the State, and the relationship
between the central and local governments, together with an analysis into the
repeatedly occurring questions in the organizations. Many other theories were also
built up upon such themes as the governmental functions and its role, including the
relations between the government and enterprises, relation between public and private
sectors, the question of limited government, property ownership question,
administrative reform and the reform to the governmental functions, market defects
and governmental defects, the question of relations between the society and market, as
well as the fairness and efficiency issues etc. Second, from the viewpoint of strategy
of admin reform development, studied the plans, principles, goals and steps of the

administrative reform carried out by the government. Third, from the viewpoint of
concrete execution of the proposal on reform to the administration system, studied
into practical measures of each administrative reform proposal. Among these above 3
layers of research efforts, the second and third layers of research work had their
foundations being relatively weak. The rich experience of China in terms of
administrative reform has not been well used and summarized theoretically, and
China’s practices in the administration also lack of solid theoretical supports and
guidance. Therefore, the direction of research on the administration science in China
in the coming future is to reinforce the study into theory and practices of China’s past

2) Importance was attached to the mutual penetration and learning among the science
of administration and the sciences of economics, politics, law, sociology and
management in terms of their basic theories and research methods. The research on
the basic theories of administration science has been disseminated into each
professional system in the admin management field, which thus formed a systematic
research movement towards many a branch subject under the administration science,
such as the administrative organization theory, administrative decision-making theory,
administrative ecological theory, and the administrative communications theory,
administrative information theory, administrative reform theory, administrative
development and modernization theories.

3) The study on policy science was strengthened, analysis into policies took an
important position in the research on the administration science. In 1980s, China’s
research towards policy-making science still remained in a stage of simply absorbing
from overseas, just as comments went, “the research on policy-making science in
China still remains in a stage of getting started, there is many work to be done”. Later
in 1990s, the research in policy science has gained great development. The research
professionals on the administration science constantly widened their visions in terms
of research of policy-making science, and succeeded in including the formulation,
execution and assessment of each economic, social and sci-tech policy of the
government into the category of research towards the science of administration, which
then formed multiple kinds of research activities upon different policies, including the
social security policy, environmental protection policy, employment policy,
comprehensive control of social order policy, inflation regulation policy &
anti-corruption policy, social fairness and distribution policy, as well as strategy on
educational development.

4) Further explorations were made into the theoretical system of constructing the
admin science with Chinese characteristics. In 1996, the State Education Commission
organized work force to conduct a study on the reform to the subjects set forth for
administration major students; in 1997, the Academic Degree Commission under the
State Council revised and promulgated a new catalogue for admitting undergraduate
students in the administration major, and thus included the administration science to

the level-1 subject system for industrial management.

3. China’s Research on Administration Science in the 21st Centuary and the
Construction of State-level Major Research Base

In the new millennium, China’s research on administration science is facing both
chances and challenges. The economic globalization and fast development of
science/technology have given a powerful impetus to the research on the science of
administration. As China is building up and constantly perfecting her socialist market
economy, the development of China’s reform to its administration system has put
forward much higher requirements on the research on administration science.
Therefore, it becomes a major task and objective of China’s research on the
administration science in the 21st centuary to further reinforce the research steps on
the administration science and construct a solid and increasingly mature
administration science system with Chinese characteristics.

In order to meet the demands by the social development situations, and promote a
rapid development of research on the science of administration, after assessment by
experts & inspection and demonstration by the State Education Ministry, the Research
Center of Administration under Zhongshan University in Guangzhou has been
approved as a base for research of State-level on major subjects in human and social
studies in December of 2000. Thus, this research center has become the exclusive
major research base across the whole country for studies on human and social culture
of the State level.

The Center has gathered a group of outstanding research fellows in the field of
research on the science of administration both at home and abroad, and possessed a
team of first class sci-tech professionals who are mainly composed of middle and
young aged fellows with proven accomplishments and knowledge in their respective
specialized subjects. At present, the Center has determined 3 major research directions
including Research upon Theory and Practices of Governmental Public Management,
Research upon the Regional Administration and Municipal Management, and
Research on Governmental Behaviors and Administrative Operations according to
Law, in an aim to focus on the main issues & problems existing in the administration
sector of the day.

According to the requirements set forth by the State Education Ministry upon the
major bases for human and social studies, the Center has to accomplish such goals as

Construct itself into a first-rate and internationally influential research and academic
base for the science of administration. The Center will bring into full play its solid
advantages in terms of human resources, and stick to the human-oriented spirit, and
focus all of its efforts on the 3 major research directions mentioned above according

to developments and requirements put forward by the State, and conduct research
upon those protruding questions in the world and in China, undertake and finish main
research themes in both sectors of administration theory and practices, as well as
accomplish results of research and study to be recognized by the global circle.

Construct itself into a talents repository and training base enjoying fame in China and
in the global range with international influence. Since 1998, the Center has already
built up a full set of talents training system from bachelor, master to doctor’ studies.
We have to summarize our successful experience and further expand the channels of
admitting and training the professionals to major in the science of administration, and
make full use of our own advantages, admit more qualified students to register in the
master and doctor’s studies. We will also work together with certain famed
universities from overseas to train highly professional talents. In order to meet the
needs of constructing a socialist market economy with high operating efficiency and
in harmonious operations, the Center is also going to train specialized professionals
with solid applied skills for governmental bodies at all levels and those
non-governmental organizations too, and organize the education & granting of MPA’s
degree for ambitious students. In the meantime, the Center will also be observant with
the State principle that Education must serve for social practices, and thus implement
professional education programmes towards various public management bodies in
China and those in needs located in Hong Kong and Macau regions upon the subjects
of common administration and related subjects, and hold a variety types of training
classes and postgraduate study classes, so as to train as many as possible professionals
in the administration major.

Construct itself into a base for academic communications and exchanges in the field
of administration. The Center will hold a national academic seminar once in a year,
and an international seminar once every one year, and receive visiting scholars from
overseas. Meanwhile, the Center will also issue and make public the latest
developments and information in the academic circle of administration science at
home and abroad by use of specialized websites, as well as provide online inquiry

Construct itself into a base of materials and information exchanges in the circle of the
science of administration. The Center has already subscribed for and purchased in
books and printed periodicals and electronic ones through a variety of channels.
Supported by the Library of Zhongshan University, the Center has established
mutual-lending and also exchanges of books with many important libraries in
overseas. We will also improve our “Database of Documentation on Public
Administration”, and seek supports from CALIS to build up a featured database on
the research of public administration in the colleges and universities in China. With
the gradual construction of this base, we the Center will develop ourselves into a
distribution center of information and a base with the richest variety materials and
documents on China’s administration science, and thus become an information base

for materials exchanges in the circle of administration.

Construct itself into a Thoughts Repository and Consulting Services Base enjoying
solid fames both at home and abroad. The Center will make full use of its own
advantages in terms of sci-tech human resources, information materials and research
capabilities, and to offer decision-making consulting services for the governments at
all levels and those public administration departments. We will also actively
undertake applied research projects of the government and enterprises, and attach
great importance to putting our sci-tech results to serve for the needs of economic
construction and transforming these results into productive force, and enhancing the
applied value of scientific research too. Thus, we will construct the Center into a
Thoughts Repository and Consulting Services Base that enjoys reputation at home
and abroad, an important and authoritative channel for consultation services for the
government and public management decision-makers as well as those in needs of
consulting services in terms of policy and laws.

We sincerely look forward to receiving generous supports in any manner from all
walks of life in the society, who are willing to work together with us to construct our
Center to a truly influential base of State-level for human and social studies and thus
make great contributions to the prosperity of China’s research on the public


Development of Administration Science
By: Liu Yi-chang, Xu Wen-hui, Xu Ming-li
Printed by: China Personnel Publishing House in 1996
Page 15~16

Theory of Research on Policy-making Methods
By: Lin De-quan
Printed by: Yan Bian University Publishing House in 1989
Page 19


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