Science popularization policy (SPP) is a key instrument to promote public communication of science and technology, and to improve citizens’ scientific literacy. Since 1990s, Chinese Central Government has issued three top level SPP, i.e., “Opinions on reinforcing science popularization” in 1994, “Law of science popularization” in 2002, and “Outline of national action scheme for all citizens’ scientific literacy” in 2006, which constitute three milestones in the development of China’s SPP system.

Our research questions are: (1) how the agenda of the SPP were set? (2) Which model of agenda-setting in the public policy field could be applied to analyze the Chinese cases of SPP agenda setting? (3) Is the model of agenda-setting testified, modified or falsified in the Chinese context of SPP? (4) What are the Characteristics of and Challenges for SPP agenda-setting? The authors get relevant data from several sources. (1) Primary literature on the SPP documents; (2) accounts of the SPP published by the policymakers and experts involved in the policy process; (3) articles published by researchers; (4) interviews with several important SPP policymakers.

We choose in our analysis the John W. Kingdon’s Multi-Stream Model of agenda setting, which is widely used as an analytical framework for general public policy studies. The Kindon Model maintains that the three independent streams, i.e., problem stream, policy stream, and politics stream together create the windows of opportunity, and result in the agenda setting. The authors make detailed case studies of agenda setting process in the three milestone SPPs mentioned above. In this paper we present the case study of the SPP "National Action Scheme for All Citizen’s Scientific Literacy”.

We analyze the three streams as follows: The problem stream: (1) The bi-annual surveys of national citizens’ scientific literacy (SL), which started in China in 1992, revealed that average level Chinese SL was too much lower than that in the developed countries, which was believed to be a major hindrance to the modernization of China; (2) The FLG incidents occurred in 1999. It was reflected that one of the major reasons was low level
of citizens’ SL including particularly lack of scientific spirit.

The policy stream: The USA Project 2061 which aims to improve the SL for all American in 76 years, the cycle of the Halley Comet, was introduced into China in 1998 after the top leadership of the China Association of S&T(CAST) participating the 150 years anniversary of the AAAS. The leadership underwent policy learning,forming the idea of long term plan, the Project 2049, similar to the Project 2061. CAST also sought legitimation for the project proposal from the national development strategy, and from the Chinese Communist Party’s documents. CAST sent the project proposal to the CCPCC and State Council in 1999; however CAST did not get the official replies from the Central Government till 2002. During this period, supported by CAST, the books concerning the Project 2061 had been translated and published in China.

Political Stream: during 2000- 2001, the key newspaper of the CCP and the Government such as the Peoples Daily published many articles, urging for improving the national SL. The top leaders of the CCP and state councils also delivered talks about SL. The vice Premier in charge of national Science and education held a meeting about science popularization in Nov 2001, and a participant from science popularization community mentioned that CAST did not get the relies to the project proposal on SL from the State Council. The vice Premier asked to check the issue as soon as possible and in February 2002 the State Council agreed CAST together with other ministries jointly to make the policy. The agenda was finally and officially set.

The authors think the Kindon Model is appropriate to analyze complex agenda setting process. However,three streams were not independent as Kindon Model assumed, rather they were connected and interacted in the Chinese context. Thus, we modify the Kindon Model as: The problem stream, policy stream and political stream interact and contribute together to the agenda setting. We also find that there are different policy cultures in the SPP agenda setting and policy making in China. The four cultures (political, economical, scientific, and civic) interact, cooperate and compete in the agenda setting and policy making process.

">
 [PCST]
PCST Network

Public Communication of Science and Technology

 

Agenda setting process in China’s science popularization policy
A case study of the national action scheme for all citizen’s scientific literacy

Li Liu   Center for Science, Technology and Society, Tsinghua University

Jing Chang   CAST-Tsinghua Center for Science Communication and Popularization

Science popularization policy (SPP) is a key instrument to promote public communication of science and technology, and to improve citizens’ scientific literacy. Since 1990s, Chinese Central Government has issued three top level SPP, i.e., “Opinions on reinforcing science popularization” in 1994, “Law of science popularization” in 2002, and “Outline of national action scheme for all citizens’ scientific literacy” in 2006, which constitute three milestones in the development of China’s SPP system.

Our research questions are: (1) how the agenda of the SPP were set? (2) Which model of agenda-setting in the public policy field could be applied to analyze the Chinese cases of SPP agenda setting? (3) Is the model of agenda-setting testified, modified or falsified in the Chinese context of SPP? (4) What are the Characteristics of and Challenges for SPP agenda-setting? The authors get relevant data from several sources. (1) Primary literature on the SPP documents; (2) accounts of the SPP published by the policymakers and experts involved in the policy process; (3) articles published by researchers; (4) interviews with several important SPP policymakers.

We choose in our analysis the John W. Kingdon’s Multi-Stream Model of agenda setting, which is widely used as an analytical framework for general public policy studies. The Kindon Model maintains that the three independent streams, i.e., problem stream, policy stream, and politics stream together create the windows of opportunity, and result in the agenda setting. The authors make detailed case studies of agenda setting process in the three milestone SPPs mentioned above. In this paper we present the case study of the SPP "National Action Scheme for All Citizen’s Scientific Literacy”.

We analyze the three streams as follows: The problem stream: (1) The bi-annual surveys of national citizens’ scientific literacy (SL), which started in China in 1992, revealed that average level Chinese SL was too much lower than that in the developed countries, which was believed to be a major hindrance to the modernization of China; (2) The FLG incidents occurred in 1999. It was reflected that one of the major reasons was low level
of citizens’ SL including particularly lack of scientific spirit.

The policy stream: The USA Project 2061 which aims to improve the SL for all American in 76 years, the cycle of the Halley Comet, was introduced into China in 1998 after the top leadership of the China Association of S&T(CAST) participating the 150 years anniversary of the AAAS. The leadership underwent policy learning,forming the idea of long term plan, the Project 2049, similar to the Project 2061. CAST also sought legitimation for the project proposal from the national development strategy, and from the Chinese Communist Party’s documents. CAST sent the project proposal to the CCPCC and State Council in 1999; however CAST did not get the official replies from the Central Government till 2002. During this period, supported by CAST, the books concerning the Project 2061 had been translated and published in China.

Political Stream: during 2000- 2001, the key newspaper of the CCP and the Government such as the Peoples Daily published many articles, urging for improving the national SL. The top leaders of the CCP and state councils also delivered talks about SL. The vice Premier in charge of national Science and education held a meeting about science popularization in Nov 2001, and a participant from science popularization community mentioned that CAST did not get the relies to the project proposal on SL from the State Council. The vice Premier asked to check the issue as soon as possible and in February 2002 the State Council agreed CAST together with other ministries jointly to make the policy. The agenda was finally and officially set.

The authors think the Kindon Model is appropriate to analyze complex agenda setting process. However,three streams were not independent as Kindon Model assumed, rather they were connected and interacted in the Chinese context. Thus, we modify the Kindon Model as: The problem stream, policy stream and political stream interact and contribute together to the agenda setting. We also find that there are different policy cultures in the SPP agenda setting and policy making in China. The four cultures (political, economical, scientific, and civic) interact, cooperate and compete in the agenda setting and policy making process.

A copy of the full paper has not yet been submitted.

BACK TO TOP