Orville Schell is the Arthur Ross Director of the Center on U.S.-China Relations at the Asia Society in New York. He is a former professor and Dean at the University of California, Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism. 

Schell is the author of fifteen books, ten of them about China, and a contributor to numerous edited volumes. His most recent books are Wealth and Power: China's Long March to the Twenty-first Century (Random House, 2013) (co-authored with John Delury), Virtual Tibet: Searching for Shangri-La from the Himalayas to Hollywood (Metropolitan Books, 2000), The China Reader: The Reform Years (Vintage, 1998), and Mandate of Heaven: The Legacy of Tiananmen Square and the Next Generation of China's Leaders (Simon & Schuster, 1994). He is also a contributor to such magazines as The New Yorker, The Atlantic, The New York Times Magazine, The Nation, The Los Angeles Times Magazine, Granta, Wired, Newsweek, Mother Jones, The China Quarterly, and The New York Review of Books.

Schell graduated Magna Cum Laude from Harvard University in Far Eastern History, was an exchange student at National Taiwan University in the 1960s, and earned a Ph.D. (Abd) at the University of California, Berkeley in Chinese History. He worked for the Ford Foundation in Indonesia, covered the war in Indochina as a journalist, and has traveled widely in China since the mid-1970s.

He is a Fellow at the Weatherhead East Asian Institute at Columbia University, a Senior Fellow at the Annenberg School of Communications at USC, and a member of the Council on Foreign Relations. Schell was a Fellow at Columbia University's Graduate School of Journalism and the recipient of many prizes and fellowships, including a Guggenheim Fellowship, the Overseas Press Club Award, and the Harvard-Stanford Shorenstein Prize in Asian Journalism.

Last Updated: September 14, 2015

Conversation

02.25.18

Xi Won’t Go

Richard McGregor, Taisu Zhang & more
In a surprise Sunday move, Beijing announced that the Communist Party leadership wants to abolish the two-term limit for China’s president and vice president, potentially paving the way for China’s 64-year-old President Xi Jinping to stay in power...

Conversation

02.15.18

Is American Policy toward China Due for a ‘Reckoning’?

Charles Edel, Elizabeth Economy & more
Former diplomats Kurt M. Campbell and Ely Ratner argue that United States policy toward China, in administrations of both parties, has relied in the past on a mistaken confidence in America’s ability to “mold China to the United States’ liking.”...

Media

11.15.17

What Happened When Trump Met Xi?

Bonnie S. Glaser, Daniel R. Russel & more
An edited transcript of “ChinaFile Presents: What Happened When Trump Met Xi?” a discussion of Donald Trump’s five-country trip to Asia with Daniel Russel, Bonnie Glaser, and Orville Schell, moderated by Susan Jakes. The panel took place at Asia...

Viewpoint

11.10.17

Bathed in the Xi Jinping Bromance

Orville Schell
Sitting in a grand salon of the Great Hall of the People in Tiananmen Square and awaiting the official arrival ceremony of President Trump was to be taken back to that period of Sino-Soviet amity when Stalin was Mao’s “big brother” and the Chinese...

Viewpoint

11.08.17

Will Trump’s ‘Flattery Machine’ Work on Xi Jinping?

Orville Schell
Before winging off to Beijing, Trump managed to convince his staff and Korean President Moon to take him to the demilitarized zone (DMZ). Many of his aides were said to have been wary about the idea, fearing he might make some kind of provocative...

Viewpoint

11.07.17

Sticking to the Script, Trump Seems to Internalize It

Orville Schell
Slowly we are stitching our way across Asia on Donald J. Trump’s great five-nation oriental hegira. After a punishing 2:00 a.m. departure from Yokota Air Force Base outside Tokyo, we arrived this morning at Osan Air Base outside of Seoul, a reminder...

Viewpoint

11.06.17

On the Road with Trump in Asia: Day One, Tokyo

Orville Schell
Many are fearful that Xi Jinping’s ability to awe his visitors with over-the-top manifestations of pomp and ceremony will turn Donald Trump to Jell-o. But having watched Trump arrive in Japan yesterday on the first leg of his five-country trip, it’s...

Media

09.18.17

Asia’s Reckoning: China, Japan, and the Fate of U.S. Power in the Pacific Century

Richard McGregor, Susan Shirk & more
The following is an edited transcript of a live event hosted at Asia Society in New York on September 7, 2017, and named for a new book by Richard McGregor, the former Beijing Bureau Chief of the Financial Times, “ChinaFile Presents: ‘Asia’s...

Conversation

08.10.17

Should China Support the U.S. in a War with North Korea?

Ryan Hass, Susan Shirk & more
On August 9, U.S. President Donald Trump warned North Korea that if it does not stop threatening the United States, it will be “met with fire and fury and frankly power, the likes of which this world has never seen before.” Just hours later, the...

Excerpts

07.13.17

Liu Xiaobo’s Three Refusals: No Enemies, No Hatred, No Lies

Orville Schell & John Delury
In the spring of 1989, Liu Xiaobo was a thirty-four-year-old professor of literature and philosophy at Beijing Normal University with a keen interest in political ideas, who when demonstrations broke out, quickly became a habitué of Tiananmen...

Viewpoint

04.06.17

Is It Time to Give up on Engagement?

Orville Schell & Anders Corr
In the lead-up to U.S. President Trump’s meeting later this week with China’s Xi Jinping, Orville Schell, ChinaFile’s publisher, wrote an essay in The Wall Street Journal on the history of China’s episodic embrace of democratic principles and why in...

Conversation

03.22.17

China Writers Remember Robert Silvers

Ian Johnson, Orville Schell & more
Robert Silvers died on Monday, March 20, after serving as The New York Review of Books Editor since 1963. Over almost six decades, Silvers cultivated one of the most interesting, reflective, and lustrous stables of China writers in the world, some...

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Orville Schell, Arthur Ross Director at the Asia Society's Centre on US-China Relation, likens the developments in U.S.-China ties to a "constant ballet" and outlines his expectations for Xi's state visit. ...

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