Chen Gang

Chen Gang

Assistant Director (Policy Research) and Senior Research Fellow, East Asian Institute

Dr. Chen Gang is the assistant director (policy research) and a senior research fellow at the East Asian Institute (EAI), National University of Singapore. Since he joined the EAI in 2007, he has been tracing China’s politics, foreign policy, environmental and energy policies and publishing extensively on these issues. He is the author of publications such as Politics of Renewable Energy in China; The Politics of Disaster Management in China: Institutions, Interest Groups, and Social Participation; China’s Climate Policy; Politics of China's Environmental Protection: Problems and Progress; and The Kyoto Protocol and International Cooperation against Climate Change (in Chinese).

This handout photo from the Armed Forces of the Philippines taken on 4 January 2024 shows a pilot executing a final check in a Philippine Navy AW109 helicopter on the deck of the USS Carl Vinson during the second iteration of the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the US Indo-Pacific Command Military Cooperative Activity in the South China Sea. (Handout/Armed Forces of the Philippines/AFP)

China’s naval defence gains priority amid US’s aggressive Indo-Pacific strategy

Academic Chen Gang notes that China’s appointment of its first defence minister with a naval background highlights the priority it has set for its military development. Given the US’s aggressive Indo-Pacific maritime strategy, China is responding in kind, leading to "grey rhino" that could spark a war.
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken speaks with Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi prior to meetings at the State Department in Washington, DC, on 26 October 2023. (Saul Loeb/AFP)

Global crises build common ground for China-US cooperation

Academic Chen Gang notes that while China-US relations remain tense, global issues such as the ongoing war in Ukraine, revived conflict in the Middle East and the worsening threat of climate change are coming together to form growing common ground for the two powers to work together and increase dialogue and cooperation.
In this picture taken on 30 August 2023, workers assemble a motorbike at the Northstar Precision Vietnam factory in Vinh Phuc province.  (Nhac Nguyen/AFP)

The global south's rare development opportunity as big countries de-risk

EAI academic Chen Gang notes that although the Chinese authorities are against the Western notion of “de-risking”, it has itself taken steps to de-risk, with ASEAN overtaking Europe and the US as China’s largest trade partner. As major countries are gaining ground in their de-risking strategies, the global south is set to benefit.
Cyril Ramaphosa, South Africa's president, left, and Xi Jinping, China's president on the closing day of the BRICS summit at the Sandton Convention Center in the Sandton district of Johannesburg, South Africa, on 24 August 2023.  (Leon Sadiki/Bloomberg)

China puts spotlight on global south with BRICS expansion

The diplomatic focus on third world countries during Mao Zedong’s era has taken a renewed form in Xi Jinping’s era with the focus on the global south, notes EAI academic Chen Gang. International circumstances could propel the Chinese to further elevate the importance of the global south, not least with the recent expansion of BRICS to include several global south countries.
This aerial photo shows cranes and shipping containers at Lianyungang port in China's eastern Jiangsu province, on 16 July 2023. (AFP)

No need for large-scale stimulus amid China’s stable growth

EAI academic Chen Gang notes that as China’s economy recovers from the pandemic, it will likely meet the growth target set by the government at the beginning of the year, which should be sufficient to avoid the need for large-scale stimulus policies. Areas such as technology and the service sector are likely to provide the push the Chinese economy needs.
Chew Shou Zi, CEO of TikTok Inc., speaks during the Bloomberg New Economy Forum in Singapore, on 16 November 2022. (Bryan van der Beek/Bloomberg)

TikTok congressional hearing: Not just about China-US tech war

While China-US relations have an impact on the US lawmakers’ scrutiny of TikTok, the intense questioning of the social media platform’s data security issues by the US Congress has sparked major global attention, especially towards the threat to the authority of sovereign states globally.
An employee works on solar photovoltaic modules at a factory in Hai'an in China's eastern Jiangsu province on 15 November 2021. (AFP)

China's push towards green energy accelerated by security concerns

China’s coal and electricity shortage last year and the current impact of the Russia-Ukraine war on global energy supply have highlighted China’s energy security concerns and the risks to fulfilling its climate goals. Nevertheless, while EAI academic Chen Gang believes that China is unlikely to significantly reduce its consumption of fossil fuels in the short term, he notes that there remain several drivers that will accelerate China's clean energy transition.
Climate change activists wearing masks depicting images of world leaders, including US President Joe Biden, take part in a "Squid Game" themed demonstration near the Scottish Event Campus (SEC), the venue of the COP26 UN Climate Change Conference in Glasgow, Scotland, on 2 November 2021. (Andy Buchanan/AFP)

Will China-US cooperation go beyond climate change?

Chen Gang sees that rather than an end in itself, climate change can be a springboard for China and the US to deepen cooperation in other areas. This is by virtue of the fact that climate change is often intertwined with issues relating to the economy, trade and foreign policy. Facets of climate change cooperation will have spillover effects that could lead to tariff reductions, investments and greater technology collaborations.
Shoppers and pedestrians walk along Nanjing Road in Shanghai, China, on 6 June 2021. (Qilai Shen/Bloomberg)

Dual circulation strategy revisited: China deepens integration with the global economy

When China’s “dual circulation” strategy was launched last year, some analysts interpreted it to mean that China would be focusing more on its domestic market. Figures show otherwise. Studying trade and investment indicators over the past few months, Chen Gang concludes that China’s economic engagement with the world is increasing as it runs on dual domestic and external engines.