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).

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.
A worker leaves a construction site in Beijing on 28 October 2020. (Nicolas Asfouri/AFP)

Net-zero CO2 emissions before 2060: Is China's climate goal too ambitious?

President Xi Jinping announced at the 75th session of the UNGA last year that China aims to have its CO2 emissions peak before 2030 and to achieve carbon neutrality before 2060. How will its efforts affect China and the world? Ultimately, will taking a bitter pill now help China to leapfrog its constraints and build a sustainable economy?
This photo taken on 26 September 2020 shows first-year students holding a Chinese flag during a commencement ceremony at Wuhan University in Wuhan, Hubei, China. (STR/AFP)

Geopolitics is the biggest threat to China-US relations, not trade or tech wars

Contrary to doomsday predictions, the US-China trade and tech relationship is actually rather sturdy. After all, it was their economic and trade complementarity that brought them finally to agree on a phase one trade deal, and against all odds, US direct investments into China grew by 6% (from a year earlier) in the first half of the year. Geopolitics and volatile brinkmanship in the name of power relations could instead be the greater threat. But between Trump and Biden, which is the lesser evil?
In this photo taken on 13 February 2020, a man walks by a deserted Los Angeles Chinatown as most stay away due to fear of the Covid-19 epidemic. (Mark Ralston/AFP)

China enters ‘pre-decoupling stage’ amid Covid-19 outbreak

Senior research fellow Chen Gang says that the Covid-19 outbreak has led the Chinese government to announce that it is facing “wartime conditions” and will be imposing a system of political, economic, social management for extreme circumstances. The world is also taking preventive measures. Such a scenario sees China entering a “pre-decoupling stage” where its resilience and self-reliance will be severely tested.