Cheng Li


Cheng Li
Director, John L. Thornton China Center, Brookings Institution

Cheng Li is Director and Senior Fellow at the Brookings Institution’s John L. Thornton China Center, and a Distinguished Fellow of the Munk School of Global Affairs and Public Policy at University of Toronto. Dr. Li is also a director of the National Committee on U.S.-China Relations, a Nonresident Senior Fellow at the Paul Tsai China Center at Yale University, a member of the Visiting Committee to the Social Science Research Council in the United States, and a member of the Council on Foreign Relations.

He is the author/editor of numerous books, including Rediscovering China: Dynamics and Dilemmas of Reform (1997), China’s Leaders: The New Generation (2001), Bridging Minds Across the Pacific: The Sino-US Educational Exchange (2005), China’s Emerging Middle Class (2010), 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 (2017).

Dr. Li has advised a wide range of U.S. government, education, research, business and not-for-profit organizations on work in China. Dr. Li has frequently been called upon to share his unique perspective and insights as an expert on China. He recently appeared on BBC, CCTV, CNN, C-SPAN, ABC World News, NPR, and PBS. Li grew up in Shanghai during the Cultural Revolution. In 1985, he came to the United States when he later received an M.A. in Asian Studies from the University of California at Berkeley and a Ph.D. in Political Science from Princeton University.