John L. Thornton China Center

About the Center

In 2006 the Brookings Institution launched the John L. Thornton China Center, with headquarters in Washington, DC and an office in Beijing at Tsinghua University. The China Center provides cutting-edge research, analysis, dialogue and publications that focus on China's emergence and the implications of this for the United States, China's neighbors and the rest of the world.

Increasing Focus on a Growing China

China is modernizing at an astonishing rate. This pace of change is profoundly affecting not only China's domestic situation, but the international security and economic environments as well. A host of challenges confront China, including the need to secure energy sources to fuel its growth; the imperative to implement economic reforms that will sustain growth; mitigate social and economic inequalities among its population that could be destabilizing; and the interest of the Chinese people to have a voice in their governance.

American knowledge and understanding of China, its domestic challenges and its changing role in Asia and in the world is limited. The John L. Thornton China Center aims to address these challenges by working with Chinese partners to examine China's most pressing challenges, including energy policy, economic policy, urban reform and public health.

Brookings-Tsinghua Center

In October 2006, the John L. Thornton China Center opened an office at Tsinghua University in Beijing, China, known as the Brookings-Tsinghua Center. The Brookings-Tsinghua Center facilitates joint and individual research projects by Chinese and American scholars focusing on economic and social issues in China's development; serves as a liaison to think-tanks, academic institutions, government officials, corporations and individual scholars in China; and hosts seminars, panels and conferences.

Critical Issues for Research

Scholars at the John L. Thornton China Center address a wide range of critical issues related to China's modernization. While the Center's research agenda is dynamic and responsive to new developments, abiding areas of research interest include:

  • Economics and Trade: including U.S.-China economic relations; China's trade and investment policies and efforts to safeguard intellectual property rights; its role in regional and international financial institutions; and the global impact of China's rapid economic growth.
  • China's Domestic Challenges: including national and regional governance; political leadership; reform of the financial services and state-owned enterprise sectors; health policy; urbanization; and sustainable development and the environment.
  • Energy Policy: including Chinese domestic energy policy decision-making; China's efforts to secure energy abroad and how this affects the United States and the rest of the world; and energy diplomacy and areas of possible international cooperation.
  • Foreign Policy: including U.S.-China relations; China's relations with its neighbors; the development of regional security frameworks like the Shanghai Cooperation Organization and ASEAN + 3; the modernization of the Chinese military; and China's growing global outreach efforts.

Center Publications and Activities

The John L. Thornton China Center utilizes a broad array of media venues to deliver its scholars' research and analyses to top decision-makers and the public. China Center scholars publish a wide variety of written works, ranging from op-eds in major newspapers and on-line commentary on current events to full-length books and scholarly monographs.

In addition, China Center activities include:

  • Public programs: The China Center hosts a number of events in Washington, D.C. that serve as venues for senior Chinese and American officials and experts to discuss policy issues and challenges involving China.
  • Roundtables and seminars: In addition to the public programs in Washington, the China Center also hosts roundtable discussions with delegations from the Chinese government and think-tank community and the U.S. government.
  • Conferences: China Center scholars also organize meetings in the United States, China and elsewhere to discuss issues relating to China.

China Center Experts and Staff

Director: Cheng Li
Senior Fellows: Jeffrey Bader, Richard Bush, David Dollar, Kenneth Lieberthal, Jonathan Pollack
Senior Fellow and Director, Brookings Tsinghua Center: Qi Ye
Fellow: Erica Downs
Associate Director: Kevin Foley
Assistant Director: Ryan McElveen
Center Manager: Iris An
Senior Research Assistant: Ella Chou
Translation and Publication Coordinator: Meara Androphy
Development Officer: Teresa Hsu