A quarter century ago I was bitten by the "China bug" and have devoted my professional life to various aspects of China ever since. I am particularly interested in several dimensions of modern and contemporary China, including leadership politics; Chinese Communist Party history; Chinese intellectuals and politics culture; research institutes and higher education; the policy-making process and administrative reforms; the Chinese military and security affairs; and China's foreign relations (particularly with the United States and Europe). Over the years, I have researched and published in each of these areas.If there is a linkage in my intellectual interest in these various issues, it is how China's external relations affect its internal politics and policymaking. I am particularly interested in how the policy process in China has evolved over time, and how it reflects external influences. Such influences can be both intellectual and institutional.

To some extent, my interest in this interaction reflects my doctoral training in both comparative politics and international relations at Johns Hopkins and the University of Michigan; while many students and professors tend toward one or the other sub-field in their work, I have straddled both and have attempted to illustrate the interaction between the two in the People's Republic of China. As China becomes increasingly subject to the irresistible forces of globalization and interdependence, these cross-influences become more and more evident.While I have spent much of the last two decades researching and writing about China's foreign policy (particularly with respect to the United States and Europe), its security environment, and military, I have decided to "shift gears" and return to the study of domestic politics--which consumed me during the late-1970s.

My research project to be pursued at the Woodrow Wilson Center is illustrative of this interest. I am intrigued by the question of why and how the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has managed to survive since so many other communist party-states imploded and collapsed--and what lessons did it learn from the collapse of other sister parties that has enabled it to survive? I am equally interested in how the CCP is organized and operates, and hence will devote a substantial portion of the book project to elucidating this organizational dimension (based upon some unique research materials from China).My teaching at George Washington University parallels these research interests. Most of my teaching is at the graduate level (M.A. and Ph.D.), although I offer one undergraduate course per year. I teach a two-semester sequence on Chinese domestic politics and the policy process, and courses on Chinese foreign policy, U.S.-China relations, the Chinese military and security, and the international relations of the Asia-Pacific.

I find the students at the Elliott School extremely stimulating and gratifying to teach, and I learn a great deal from them.Prior to coming to George Washington, I taught for eight years in England at the University of London's School of Oriental & African Studies (SOAS). This was a very broadening experience, in terms of the truly international student body, the equally global mixture of faculty colleagues, and the British system of higher education (for better and for worse). During this period, I also had the honor of serving from 1991-96 as editor of The China Quarterly--the world's premier scholarly journal on contemporary China since 1960. In addition to learning a great deal about China and the field of Chinese studies internationally from the 200+ manuscripts that were submitted to the journal annually, another benefit of the editorship was the opportunity to travel around Europe to visit other centers of Chinese studies. I not only developed a wide range of contacts on the continent, and a strong interest in Sino-European relations, but also an enduring fascination with the process of European integration and the European Union. Having returned to the United States, one of my lasting programmatic commitments is to bring European and American government officials and specialists on China and Asia together--this is a dialogue that has atrophied over the years but needs to be resurrected.

As Director of the Elliott SchoolÕs China Policy Program, I am also engaged in fostering similar "policy dialogues" with several institutions in China and through East and South Asia.Another of my previous activities was to serve as program associate and acting director of the Woodrow Wilson Center's Asia Program (1987-88). Returning to the Wilson Center after fifteen years is a wonderful prospect. While I decided to launch my academic career rather than stay on at the WWICS, this was a marvelous experience that had a lasting effect on me. It was at the Center that I learned how to conceptualize and organize programs, as well as to convene conferences that resulted in edited scholarly volumes (I have subsequently edited eleven). Not all academics like to organize and administrate, but the Wilson Center taught me the value of it.Relatedly, I believe strongly in the Wilson Center's mission of forging the worlds of ideas and policy. I try to do this regularly in my professional life and work. Far too few academics consider their responsibilities to society at large, the government, or to influential policy circles. I take seriously my responsibilities to these other communities and constituencies, and am consequently very active in public speaking, writing newspaper editorials, and consulting to government and private sector entities. I find a great synergy between the world of ideas and world of public policy--and for this reason the Wilson Center is an ideal place to spend my sabbatical year.


B.A.(1977) East Asian Studies, George Washington University; M.S. (1980) International Affairs, Johns Hopkins University, Nitze School of Advanced International Studies; Ph.D. (1989) Political Science, University of Michigan


  • Professor of Political Science & International Affairs, Director of the China Policy Program in the Elliott School of International Affairs, The George Washington University, 1996-present
  • Nonresident Senior Fellow, Foreign Policy Studies Program and Center for Northeast Asian Policy Studies, The Brookings Institution, 1998-present
  • Professor, University of London's School of Oriental & African Studies (SOAS), 1988-96
  • Editor, The China Quarterly, 1991-96
  • Program Associate and Acting Director, The Woodrow Wilson Center's Asia Program,1987-88
  • Lecturer, University of Michigan,1986-87
  • Analyst of Chinese Affairs on the National Security Council staff, 1977-78 and Department of State Bureau of Intelligence & Research,1976-77


The Chinese military and security affairs; China's foreign relations, including U.S.-China relations and Europe-China relations; Chinese leadership and domestic politics; international relations studies and institutions in China; international politics and security of the Asia-Pacific region; U.S. foreign policy and intelligence

Project Summary

The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) rules one-fifth of humanity, and is the largest and longest ruling political party in the world. While its rule is no longer as totalitarian as in the past, the CCP today still thoroughly penetrates Chinese society, monopolizes all political power, and controls government institutions and the armed forces. Yet its rule was deeply shaken by the momentous events of May-June 1989 and the subsequent collapse of communist party-states in the former Soviet empire. This book project examines the organization of the CCP and its mechanisms for ruling China, the lessons it derived and implemented from the collapse of other communist parties, and the challenges it faces as it attempts to remain in power and rule China in the 21st century.

Major Publications

  • Modernizing China's Military: Progress, Problems & Prospects. University of California Press, 2002.
  • Making China Policy: Lessons from the Bush and Clinton Administrations. Roman & Littlefield, 2001.
  • The Modern Chinese State. Cambridge University Press, 2000.