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Cheng Li (Brookings Institution) discusses the significance of Bo Xilai's upcoming trial for the rule of law in China, behind-the-scenes negotiations that may have delayed the 18th Party Congress, and the degree of consensus that exists among China's leaders despite ideological differences and ongoing debates.
"In terms of the general public, they think Xi Jinping is a great leader," says Cheng Li, an expert on Chinese politics at the Brookings Institution, a Washington-based think tank.Li often travels to China and says Xi has struck a nerve by addressing popular concerns.
"Most people still think that economic development is more important than democracy," he says.
"There is a huge gap between how Westerners look at these issues and how Chinese perceive them," says Li.
Cheng Li is director of research and a senior fellow at the John L. Thornton China Center in the Foreign Policy Program at the Brookings Institution in Washington, D.C.Dr. Li is also a director of the National Committee on U.S.-China Relations.
Cheng Li grew up in Shanghai during the Cultural Revolution.
In 1985 he came to the United States, where he received an M.A. in Asian Studies from the University of California, Berkeley and a Ph.D. in Political Science from Princeton University.From 1993 to 1995, Dr. Li worked in China as a fellow with the U.S.-based Institute of Current World Affairs, observing grassroots changes in his native country.
Based on this experience, he published a nationally acclaimed book, Rediscovering China: Dynamics and Dilemmas of Reform (1997).
Dr. 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), and The Political Mapping of China's Tobacco Industry and Anti-Smoking Campaign (2012).
He is currently completing two book manuscripts: Chinese Politics in the Era of Collective Leadership and 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.Dr. Li has advised a wide range of government, business and non-profit organizations on working in China.
Dr. Li 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.Before joining Brookings in 2006, Dr. Li was the William R. Kenan professor of government at Hamilton College, where he had taught since 1991.Dr. Li has been a recipient of fellowships or research grants from the Smith Richardson Foundation, the Freeman Foundation, the Peter Lewis Foundation, the Crane-Rogers Foundation, the Emerson Foundation, the United States Institute of Peace, Hong Kong Institute of Humanities and Social Sciences, and the Chiang Ching-Kuo Foundation for International Scholarly Exchange.
In 2002-2003 he was a residential fellow of the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars.He is frequently called on to share his unique perspective and insights as an expert on China.
He has recently appeared on CNN, C-SPAN, the BBC, ABC World News with Diane Sawyer, the PBS NewsHour, Charlie Rose, Foreign Exchange with Fareed Zakaria, and NPR's Diane Rehm Show.
He has been featured in The New York Times, The Washington Post, the Wall Street Journal, Time, The Economist, Newsweek, Business Week, Foreign Policy and numerous other publications.Dr. Li is also a columnist for the Stanford University journal China Leadership Monitor.He is a regular speaker and participant at the Bilderberg Conference.
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