In 2006, the Brookings Institution established centers focused on China studies in Washington, D.C. and Beijing. The John L. Thornton China Center in Washington is widely recognized as the leading research center on China’s political system and its foreign and economic policies. From October 2006 until October 2020, the Brookings-Tsinghua Center for Public Policy operated as an institutional partnership between Brookings Institution and Tsinghua University. Since October 2020, Brookings has maintained a limited partnership with Tsinghua University School of Public Policy and Management that is intended to facilitate jointly organized dialogues, meetings, and/or events.


The John L. Thornton China Center at Brookings develops timely, independent analyses and policy recommendations to address long-standing challenges related to U.S.-China relations and China’s internal development. Through a broad range of publications—from blogs and op-eds to monographs and books — the scholarly research conducted in the Thornton China Center is made accessible to both policymakers and the public. Building on the inherent convening power of the Brookings Institution, the Center hosts a wide array of public programs, roundtables, conferences, and track II dialogues to advance and highlight this work.

These efforts include:

  • Global China, a project providing recommendations on how the United States should respond to China’s actions that implicate key American interests and values;
  • Advancing Collaboration in an Era of Strategic Competition, a joint CSIS-Brookings project that seeks to advance U.S.-China coordination on matters of shared concern amid intensified geostrategic rivalry;
  • Democracy in Asia, an initiative examining factors that could strengthen democratic institutions across the region as well as those that could lead to a democratic recession; and
  • Vying for Talent, a project and podcast discussing the role human talent plays in the sprawling competition between China and the United States.

While the research agenda at the John L. Thornton China Center is dynamic and responsive to new developments, abiding areas of scholarly interest include:

  • Foreign policy and U.S.-China relations
  • Economics, finance, and trade
  • China’s political leadership
  • China’s domestic challenges
  • China’s public intellectuals
  • Global governance and institutions


Center Leadership

Ryan Hass, Director; Senior Fellow, Michael H. Armacost Chair and Chen-Fu and Cecilia Yen Koo Chair in Taiwan Studies
Ryan McElveen, Associate Director

Experts and Research Staff

Kevin Dong, Senior Research Assistant
Patricia Kim, Fellow
Kenneth G. Lieberthal, Senior Fellow Emeritus
Louison Sall, Senior Research Assistant

Nonresident Experts

Richard C. Bush, Nonresident Senior Fellow
Thomas J. Christensen, Nonresident Senior Fellow
Diana Fu, Nonresident Fellow
Paul Gewirtz, Nonresident Senior Fellow
Jamie Horsley, Nonresident Senior Fellow
Cheng Li, Nonresident Senior Fellow
Yingyi Ma, Nonresident Senior Fellow
Evan Osnos, Nonresident Senior Fellow
Margaret Pearson, Nonresident Senior Fellow
Peter A. Petri, Nonresident Senior Fellow
Jonathan Stromseth, Nonresident Senior Fellow
Susan A. Thornton, Nonresident Senior Fellow
Xue Lan, Nonresident Senior Fellow
Sun Yun, Nonresident Senior Fellow