Cheng Li

Director, Brookings Institution, John L. Thornton China Center
  • Senior fellow in the Foreign Policy program at Brookings Institution
  • Director of the National Committee on U.S.-China Relations
  • Senior fellow in the Foreign Policy program at Brookings Institution
  • Director of the National Committee on U.S.-China Relations

Cheng Li is director of the John L. Thornton China Center and a senior fellow in the Foreign Policy program at Brookings. Li is also the author or the editor of numerous books, including “China’s Leaders: The New Generation” (2001), “Bridging Minds Across the Pacific: The Sino-U.S. Educational Exchange 1978-2003” (2005), “China’s Changing Political Landscape: Prospects for Democracy” (2008), “China’s Emerging Middle Class: Beyond Economic Transformation” (2010), “The Road to Zhongnanhai: High-Level Leadership Groups on the Eve of the 18th Party Congress” (in Chinese, 2012), “The Political Mapping of China’s Tobacco Industry and Anti-Smoking Campaign” (2012), “China’s Political Development: Chinese and American Perspectives” (2014), “Chinese Politics in the Xi Jinping Era: Reassessing Collective Leadership” (2016), and “The Power of Ideas: The Rising Influence of Thinkers and Think Tanks in China” (forthcoming). He is currently completing a book manuscript with the working title “Middle Class Shanghai: Pioneering China’s Global Integration.” He is the principal editor of the Thornton Center Chinese Thinkers Series published by the Brookings Institution Press. Li has advised a wide range of government, business and non-profit organizations on working in China. He is a director of the National Committee on U.S.-China Relations, a member of the Academic Advisory Group of the Congressional U.S.-China Working Group, a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and a director of the Committee of 100. He is a regular speaker and participant at the Bilderberg Conference. Li grew up in Shanghai during the Cultural Revolution. In 1985 he came to the United States, where he received a master’s in Asian studies from the University of California, Berkeley and a doctorate in political science from Princeton University.

Articles Related to
Cheng Li

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1 | 'Middle Class Shanghai: Reshaping U.S.-China Engagement' by Cheng Li

‘Among the many forces shaping China's domestic transformation and its role on the world stage, none may prove more significant than the rapid emergence and explosive growth of the Chinese middle-class.’
7/25/2021

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How China's Middle-Class China is Transforming China and the World

‘Among the many forces shaping China's domestic transformation and its role on the world stage, none may prove more significant than the rapid emergence and explosive growth of the Chinese middle-class.’
7/25/2021

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2 | ‘My Humble Effort’

‘My book, Middle Class Shanghai, is a humble effort to provide a different angle, based the cultural and the educational fronts, from the perspective of shared middle-class lifestyles, aspirations, concerns, and values.’
7/25/2021

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3 | The ‘Haipai’ - ‘Jingpai’ Divide

‘Just as New York and Washington are profoundly different from each other, the same can be said about Shanghai and Beijing.’
7/25/2021

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4 | The Shanghai Paradoxes

‘Middle-Class Shanghai actually reveals China's unsettled future because Shanghai embodies what I call two tales of a city. Now in my view, Shanghai was, is, and will be paradoxical.’
7/25/2021

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Cheng Li
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5 | 'It is premature to say that engagement has failed.'

‘It is premature to conclude that the U.S. engagement policy with China under the eight presidents prior to the Trump administration has failed.’
7/25/2021

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Biden’s China strategy
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Postscript: China Doubts U.S. Allies Support

'Chinese leadership is also cynical about the effectiveness of a U.S.-led Cold War-style bloc.’
5/30/2021

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China's ‘Anti-Hegemonist Bloc’

‘To counter U.S. coalition building, China has enhanced its diplomatic, economic, and military relationship with both Russia and Iran in recent months, resulting in the closest ties these countries have had in the post-Cold War era.’
5/30/2021

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'Final Thoughts'

'Just as Brzezinski foresaw the two new contending blocs –– requiring greater “geostrategic skill” –– that are forming today, Kissinger has emphasized the unprecedented dangers that AI could introduce into a divided world.’
5/30/2021

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Worse for China than Trump

‘Many Chinese now believe that the Biden administration could be more detrimental to U.S.-China relations than the Trump administration.’
5/30/2021

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Biden’s China strategy
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The Trump Legacy

‘From Beijing’s perspective, the hawkish approach to China in the final year of the Trump administration revealed that the Trump team sought to defeat and destroy China in much the same way that the United States defeated the Soviet Union in the Cold War.’
5/30/2021

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'Biden’s China strategy: Coalition-driven competition or Cold War-style confrontation?'

‘Senior officials on the foreign policy team have frequently emphasized three “C” words: competition, cooperation, and confrontation.’
5/30/2021

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Biden’s ‘Anti-China Bloc’

‘Throughout President Joe Biden’s first 100 days in office, his administration has largely continued the Trump administration’s hawkish approach toward China.’ ‘President Biden has also made international coalition building to confront the growing power and influence of China his primary foreign policy initiative.’ ‘Chinese leaders and the public are not convinced by the statements recently made by President Biden that these U.S.-led alliances are “not anti-Chinese” and that the United States is “not looking for confrontation” with China.’
5/30/2021

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Cheng Li
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'Chinese Politics In The Xi Jinping Era'

[Malcolm Riddell Interviewed Cheng Li] 'If you ask any taxi driver in Beijing, Shanghai, or Guangzhou, he or she will tell you – with accuracy – which leader belongs to which faction. : 'China is a one–party state, but that does not necessarily mean Chinese leadership is a monolithic group with leaders who have the same ideas, same background, same world views, same politics. No, they're divided.'
2/1/2017