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China Foresight

Analysing Chinese strategy and foreign policy from the inside out.

The China Foresight project focuses on understanding the domestic policymaking process and engaging with the ongoing debates among Chinese academics and senior policymakers.

Despite China's growing interaction with the rest of the world, the country's foreign policy continues to be largely dictated by domestic requirements. To understand how China's foreign policy may develop over time, it is essential that the international community appreciates these internal drivers and the strategic thinking of the Chinese leadership. China Foresight takes on this challenge.


Wings Along the BRI: Exporting Chinese UCAVs and Security?
May 2020

China’s pursuit of military innovation has met a more active diplomacy along the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). Filling the void left by traditional suppliers, Chinese Unmanned Combat Aerial Vehicles (UCAVs) have proliferated along the BRI and are starting to affect Middle Eastern and African security landscapes. This Strategic Update explains the drivers and implications of these developments in the context of China’s modernising defence industrial base and more active role in security cooperation in the Global South. Read online / Download PDF

China's Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) and Southeast Asia
October 2018

In Southeast Asia, views of the Belt and Road Initiative range from admiration, to fear and suspicion. LSE IDEAS’s latest joint report with CARI points a path for leaders, revealing the impact, pitfalls, and opportunities for the region. Download PDF

The Chinese Communist Party Congress: An Essential Guide
September 2017 

This Strategic Update is the essential guide to the Chinese Communist Party Congress, one of the world's most secretive and exclusive political meetings. Ahead of the 19th Party Congress in October 2017, the update also explores what will indicate if Xi Jinping plans to centralise his power in the party or maintain collective leadership. Read online / Download PDF

China's One Belt, One Road: A Reality Check
July 2017

The world is excited, yet confused about the potential of China's One Belt, One Road (OBOR) initiative. What exactly is it? This Strategic Update explains the origins of the idea, who in Beijing really runs OBOR, and the existential challenges to the project. Read online / Download PDF

From Deng to Xi: Economic Reform, the Silk Road, and the Return of the Middle Kingdom
May 2017

This report explores the extent to which Deng's momentous economic reforms in 1978 have shaped modern China, what the country's expanded international role under Xi means, and who really makes Chinese foreign policy. Read online / Download PDF

China's Geoeconomic Strategy
June 2012
This report assesses the economic bases of China’s foreign policy and the challenges the country faces as it makes the transition from rising power to superpower. Download PDF

Events and Podcasts


China in One Country? Autarky, decoupling, and its implications
June 2020

Facing international upheaval due to COVID-19, and an increasingly hostile West, some speculate that China may experience a semi-Stalinist turn inward, and widespread technological and economic decoupling from the rest of the world. What is the truth behind these speculations, what is the internal debate within China, and what might this mean for China and indeed for the international community?

Made in China 2025: avoiding the middle-income development trap
March 2020

This panel discusses the challenges that China faces in avoiding the ‘middle-income trap’ of development and how this aims to be avoided through the ‘Made in China 2025’ industrial strategy.

Reassessing China's Economy in Uncertain Times
December 2019

This panel reassesses the Chinese economy and consider the effects of a slowing Chinese economy.

Redefining cross-strait relations: Taiwan elections 2020
November 2019

With the Taiwan elections approaching in January 2020, there grows a stirring, yet precarious, potential of a redefining shift in the nation’s foreign policy.

China's Peaceful Rise and the Thucydides Trap
January 2019

China first proposed a “peaceful rise” as early as by the end of 2003. As China emerged as a major economic and political power, however, there has been increasing concern regarding the role it plays in international trade and affairs over the last decade. In particular, a pivotal question about the world order in the present day is whether China and the United States can escape Thucydides Trap.

Clash of the Titans? China-US Relations from Nixon to Trump
December 2016

When Nixon opened a door to China in 1972  the world was turned upside down for ever. But what is the state of the US-China relationship nearly fifty years on? Margaret Macmillan and Christopher Coker discuss the past, present, and future of arguably the most significant relationship of the modern era.

The Decline of the West in the New Asian Century?
October 2016

Financial Times columnist Gideon Rachman and experts from LSE IDEAS discussed his new book Easternisation, debating how far Asia's growing wealth will move the international balance of power away from the West, Chinese nationalism, and the US-China competition for allies in Asia.

UK-China: Stocks, Shakespeare, and Satellites
March 2016

British Ambassador to China Barbara Woodward on the 'Golden Era' of UK-China relations, the importance of public diplomacy, and building a strategic partnership.

Private Events

ICBCS and LSE IDEAS Belt and Road Initiative roundtable series - Which Emerging Markets will gain?

ICBC Standard Bank and LSE IDEAS are co-hosting a series of private discussions, bringing together leading experts from academic, policymaking and business communities to fully explore the global economic and financial impact of China's Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). The second explored the opportunities for emerging economies. 

ICBCS and LSE IDEAS Belt and Road Initiative Roundtable series - Can BRI bring China and Russia together?

ICBC Standard Bank and LSE IDEAS are co-hosting a series of private discussions, bringing together leading experts from academic, policymaking and business communities to fully explore the global economic and financial impact of China's Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). The first focused on how the BRI programme will impact China's relations with Russia. 

The New Silk Routes: How is infrastructure reconnecting Asia? 
LSE IDEAS-LSE Department for International Relations event

China’s recent revival of the historic ‘Silk Road’ has captured the imaginations of both policymakers and business leaders. At this event, representatives from the Reconnecting Asia project at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) in Washington DC explained their ambitious initiative to map infrastructure projects across Eurasia.

China, Brexit, & the EU: Challenges, Uncertainties, & Opportunities?

This China Foresight-Dahrendorf Forum workshop explored strategic aspects of China-EU relations and how the Brexit debate will impact the newly revived bilateral relationship between Beijing and London. Included speakers from the Italian Foreign Ministry and the French Embassy.


Professor Michael Cox is Senior Academic Adviser to the China Foresight Forum. He directed and taught on the LSE-PKU Summer School for several years. He has published widely on China’s relationship with the West and has been a central figure in the discussion as to whether China’s rise poses a serious threat or a major opportunity for the West.

Gidon Gautel is Project Coordinator for China Foresight.

Rob Whittle is Project Assistant for China Foresight.

China Foresight Forum

The China Foresight Forum is a platform for discussion and collaboration among leading China-watchers. Through distinctive contributions, multidisciplinary collaboration, and novel insights, the Forum aims to challenge conventional wisdom on China’s role in the world. In doing so, the Forum aims to contribute to public discourse and aid the creation of an informed UK foreign policy.

Strategic Updates

China in One Country: interdependence or globalisation 'with Chinese characteristics'?
July 2020

In this Strategic Update, George Magnus investigates what is meant when China’s leadership speaks of globalisation, and what the implications of the answer are for the rest of the world. Read onlineDownload PDF

China Dialogues

The Forum produces regular opinion pieces on our LSE Blogs. Click here to visit the China Dialogues blog.

EU-China ATE sq

Ask the Experts: Is a renewed EU-China partnership in global affairs possible?
October 2020 | Guy de Jonquieres, Yu Jie and Charles Dunst

Guy de Jonquieres, Charles Dunst and Yu Jie consider whether a renewed EU-China partnership in global affairs is possible, for China Dialogues' monthly Ask the Experts series.

Putin and Xi blog sq

Russia's Neutrality and Pragmatism Amid the US-China Rivalry
October 2020 | Frank Ka-Ho Wong

With Washington's attempts to contain both China and Russia, many scholars have alluded to the growing prospects of a deepened Russia-China alliance. However, as Frank Ka-Ho Wong argues, Russia sees itself as a cautious mediator, looking to quietly build cooperation with China in specific sectors.

Click here to read it.

BRI Digital Diplomacy Blog 300x300

Will digital diplomacy cement the Belt and Road Initiative’s “common destiny”?
September 2020 | George Magnus and Hannah Bretherton

The coronavirus pandemic has seen investment activity in the BRI, Xi Jinping’s signature policy, continue its downwards trend. How does this factor into the parallel trend of increased digitalisation of the project, and will the BRI still be able to fulfil its purpose of a “common destiny for mankind”? George Magnus and Hannah Bretherton explore these questions.

Click here to read it.

Liebenau Digital Economy Blog sq

How Chinese digital economy companies became innovators
September 2020 | Jonathan Liebenau

What makes Chinese digital innovators so successful? This is a crucial question for both policymakers and firms looking to respond to increased economic competition from China. Jonathan Liebenau explores the answers in a growing field of management literature.

Click here to read it.

Chinas fantasy 2 sq

The Failures of the "China Fantasy"
August 2020 | Charles Dunst

Charles Dunst writes about how China’s success has undermined liberalism’s allure by teaching the world that liberal trade does not require political liberalism.

Click here to read it.

Wang Yi sq

In the Foothills of a New Cold War
August 2020 | Alan Dupont

China's wolf-warrior diplomacy reflects a fresh, open rivalry and strategic competition between Beijing and Washington.

Click here to read it.

Behind Huawei 1 sq

Behind Huawei: The Battle for Communication Networks
July 2020 | Jonathan Liebenau and Bingchun Meng

Liebenau and Meng's introductory piece, the first of four contributions, sets the scene for the Huawei controversy.

Click here to read it.



Upcoming Events

We do not have any upcoming Forum events. Be sure to check back for updates, or sign up to the LSE IDEAS Events Newsletter.

Past Events

China in One Country sq

China in One Country? Autarky, decoupling, and its implications
Thursday 11 June

Facing international upheaval due to COVID-19, and an increasingly hostile West, some speculate that China may experience a semi-Stalinist turn inward, and widespread technological and economic decoupling from the rest of the world. What is the truth behind these speculations, what is the internal debate within China, and what might this mean for China and indeed for the international community?



The Forum comprises a wide range of expertise on China.  

Professor Christopher Alden, Professor of International Relations, LSE IDEAS

Gordon Barrass, Visiting Professor, LSE IDEAS

Hannah Bretherton, Member Engagement & Project Manager, Australia-United Kingdom Chamber of Commerce; Affiliate, Lau China Institute

Professor Christopher Coker, Director, LSE IDEAS  

Professor Michael Cox, Director, LSE IDEAS  

Professor Kent Deng, Professor of Economic History, LSE

Charles Dunst, Associate, LSE IDEAS

Jonathan Fenby, Associate, LSE IDEAS

Carrie Gracie, Senior Journalist, BBC

Patrick Horgan, Director of Government Relations, Rolls Royce

Nigel Inkster, Senior Advisor, IISS

Dr. Yu Jie, Senior Research Fellow, Chatham House

Guy de Jonquieres, Senior Fellow, European Centre for International Political Economy

Professor Jonathan Liebenau, Professor of Management, LSE

George Magnus, Research Associate, Oxford University China Centre

Sir David Manning, Senior Advisor, Chatham House

Dr. Bingchun Meng, Associate Professor and Deputy Head of the Department of Media and Communications, LSE            

Charles Parton, Senior Associate Fellow, RUSI

Dr. Xin Sun, Lecturer in Chinese and East Asian Business, KCL

Geoffrey Yu, Associate at LSE IDEAS and Senior Market Strategist at Bank of New York Mellon

Engaging with senior policymakers

In the UK, the project has briefed staff at 10 Downing Street and given evidence to the House of Commons Foreign Affairs Select committee on UK-China relations.

In Europe, the project participated in the European External Action Service policy planning briefing on China and Russia, briefing 27 EU members on Chinese foreign policy. Dr Yu Jie also spoke at a 'track two diplomacy' meeting of the G7 in Rome during the Italian Presidency in 2017.    

China Foresight has met with members of the Monetary Committee of the People's Bank of China and hosted the UK ambassador to China. LSE IDEAS was one of only four UK think tanks invited to meet with Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi on his visit to London. IDEAS was also the only UK think tank to take part in a direct dialogue with Vice Minister Guo Yezhou of the International Department of the Chinese Communist Party.



28 May: How will COVID-19 impact US-China trade relations?

15 May: Geopolitical Bickering Threatens to Spill Over into Satellite Broadband Mega-constellations

1 May: COVID-19 and China’s Foreign Policy


25 August: spoke to BBC World Service Radio Weekend programme on China and Taiwan's  African diplomacy.

23 August: spoke on BBC World Service Radio's 'The World Update' on the latest round of US-China tariffs.

20 August: appeared on BBC World TV 'Talking Business' on Global Trade tensions.

7 August:  writes for the Financial Times on the ironies and mismatches of China's Belt & Road.

16 July: interviewed by BBC News Channel and BBC World Service on the EU-China summit. 

13 July: quoted in Financial Times column on US-China trade dispute. 

11 July: Yu Jie interviwed by BBC on US-China tarrifs.

10 July: quoted in South China Morning Post on Jeremy Hunt's appointment as Foreign Secretary. 

9 July: quoted in Financial Times story on how China’s Belt and Road difficulties are proliferating across the world. 

5 July: writes for the South China Morning Post on How Trump can bring China and the European Union closer, if they can be pragmatic about their wish lists.

19 June: appeared on BBC World Service speaking on US-China trade disputes and the impact on global financial markets. 

13 June: appeared on CNBC to discuss how China views the outcome of the US-North Korea summit in Singapore.

18 May: appeared on BBC World News to talk about a thaw in US-China relations. 

15 May: appeared on BBC World News Breakfast Breifing to talk about ZTE and US-China trade relations. 

3 May: appeared on Sky News to discuss the likely outcomes of negotiation between Washington and Beijing when the US Treasury Secretary visits Beijing.

4 April: quoted in Financial Times front page story on Chinese investment in the UK.

2 April: appeared on BBC World to discuss the growing China-US trade war.

22 March: appeared on BBC Radio 4's The World Tonight and BBC World Service Newshour to discuss trade tensions between the US and China.

20 March: spoke on BBC NEWS Business Briefing to review the two-weeks long China’s National Parliamentary Congress.

15 March: Xi will be judged on the results of planned reforms - article for the Financial Times beyond brics

11 March: quoted in the Financial Times by James Kynge on Africa eats up lion’s share of Chinese lending

5 March: quoted in the South China Morning Post article Tech entrepreneurs replace real estate tycoons as political advisers in China’s push for IT edge

26 Feburary: reacted to the proposed abolition of the two-term limit for the Chinese Presidency, discussing 'Xi Jinping thought' with Carrie Grace on BBC News and the impact of the news on the Chinese economy on BBC World Service Business Report.

1 Feburary: appeared on BBC Radio 4's The Briefing Room to discuss to discuss Britain, China, & the One Belt, One Road initiative with the FT's James Kynge and host David Aaronovitch. 

27 January: quoted on the front page of the Financial Times, commenting on the diplomatic row between the UK & China on the Belt & Road Initiative.

22 January: Can the UK do a post Brexit trade deal with China? Yu Jie looked at the 3 things China would want for the South China Morning Post

19 January: featured in the UBS Knowledge Network, speaking on China's Global Relations.



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