“Unirule” (or “Tianze” in Chinese), originates from words in Shi Jing, an ancient Chinese scripture, which says: “As the universe is created by the God, there have to be rules for it.” Thus, “Unirule” stands for universal rules that, in reality, govern all fields, encompassing economic and political as well as social and cultural institutions.
The Unirule Institute of Economics was founded in July of 1993 by five economists, Dr. Hong Sheng, Professor Yushi Mao, Professor Shuguang Zhang, Dr. Gang Fan and Dr. Shouning Tang, and Beijing Universal Culture Co, Ltd. The Institute, currently directed by Professor Hong Sheng, with Prof. Yushi Mao as chairman of the Board, and Professor Shuguang Zhang as the chairman of the Academic Committee, is by nature a private, non-profit research institution.
In late 1999, the Institute underwent its first organizational restructuring after six years of growth. and separated into two divisions. The consulting division was renamed as the Unirule Consulting Firm (UCF) and was fully commercialized from then on, while the organization's academic division remained as the Unirule Institute of Economics (Unirule), a private non-profit research institution. The two organizations now keep an "arm´s length market relationship," that keeps separate all operations and financial relationships while under the direction of its respective board of directors.
Unirule does not receive financial assistance from any government entities, and instead, is dependent upon social donations and provisional grants for projects from institutions in China and abroad. Projects include research proposals entrusted to Unirule, training programs, and other services provided. Unirule aims for transparency and sound accounting practices and provides financial information regarding all of the organization's activities open to public scrutiny.
Unirule has, since the outset of its establishment, gathered the country’s top economists, jurists, and sociologists, who come from various universities (e.g. Peking, Tsinghua, Renmin, Fudan, etc.), institutes, and government departments (e.g. Development and Research Centre for State Council, State Development and Planning Commission, State Economic & Trade Commission, People’s Bank of China, State Bureau of Administration for Foreign Exchanges, China Securities Supervisory Commission, Customs Office, State Information Centre, etc.). Not only does Unirule frequently exchange views with these scholars, but it also maintains close relationships with their organizations.
Unirule also has extensive connections with the media, such a Xinhua News Agency, China Central Television, Central People’s Broadcasting Station, Economic Daily, China Daily, People’s Daily, Xinhua News Agency, China Securities, Time, The Economist, Reuters, the Financial Times, and others. During the past few years, Unirule has established close cooperative relationships with them.
In addition, Unirule has, in recent years, built up various types of cooperative relationships with many international private institutions, such as the Center for International Private Enterprises (CIPE), the Ford Foundation, Alton Jones Foundation, US-China Chamber of Commerce, International Institute of Economics (IIE), and others, as well as with international public institutions, such as the World Bank, International Monetary Fund, Asian Development Bank, and African Development Bank. Unirule also maintains relationships with many foreign embassies in Beijing, such as embassies from America, Australia, Canada, Germany, India, Israel, Japan, New Zealand, Russia, and Singapore.