Susan L. Shirk is the chair of the 21st Century China Program and Research Professor of Political Science at the School of Global Policy & Strategy (GPS) at UC San Diego.  She also is director emeritus of the UC Institute on Global Conflict and Cooperation. Currently she is an Arthur Ross Fellow at Asia Society’s Center on U.S.-China Relations.

From 1997 to 2000, Shirk served as Deputy Assistant Secretary of State in the Bureau of East Asia and Pacific Affairs, with responsibility for China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, and Mongolia.

Shirk’s most recent publications are her edited book, Changing Media, Changing China (Oxford, 2011) and China: Fragile Superpower (Oxford, 2007).

Last Updated: April 13, 2016

Conversation

08.16.17

Trump Says He Wants Fairer Trade with China. Will His Latest Move Work?

Wendy Cutler, Susan Shirk & more
On Monday, Donald Trump returned to Washington from his summer vacation for the public signing of an executive order requesting that the United States Trade Representative begin a review to determine wether the U.S. should investigate China over...

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...

Conversation

02.10.17

Did Xi Just Outmaneuver Trump?

M. Taylor Fravel, Isaac Stone Fish & more
On the evening of February 9, U.S. President Donald Trump had what the White House described in a terse readout as a “lengthy” and “cordial” telephone conversation with Chinese President Xi Jinping. That alone is newsworthy, as the...

Conversation

04.12.16

Should Internet Censorship Be Considered a Trade Issue?

Bethany Allen-Ebrahimian, Susan Shirk & more
A new report from the Office of the United States Trade Representative lists, for the first time, Chinese Internet censorship as a trade barrier. The possible implications are complex: it could strengthen the hand of U.S. businesses, but also stands...

Two Way Street

08.10.15

A Response to ‘China’s Foreign Policy Isn’t Transparent? You’ve Got to Be Kidding’

Susan Shirk from Two Way Street
I’m pleased that my article on the lack of transparency in China’s political system has stimulated this intellectually interesting commentary from Chu Yin. Chu elaborates my argument that China’s leaders keep the policy process secret because they...

Features

06.16.15

Does Xi Jinping Represent a Return to the Mao Era?

Andrew G. Walder, Roderick MacFarquhar & more
Following is an edited transcript of a live event hosted at Asia Society New York on May 21, 2015, “ChinaFile Presents: Does Xi Jinping Represent a Return to the Politics of the Mao Era?” The evening convened the scholars Roderick MacFarquhar and...

Conversation

05.29.15

Did the Game Just Change in the South China Sea? (And What Should the U.S. Do About It?)

Yanmei Xie , Andrew S. Erickson & more
As the 14th annual Asia Security Summit—or the Shangri-La Dialogue, as it has come to be known—gets underway in Singapore, we asked contributors to comment on what appears to be a recent escalation in tensions between the U.S. and China over the two...

Two Way Street

05.28.15

What China’s Lack of Transparency Means for U.S. Policy

Susan Shirk from Two Way Street
I am a political scientist and former diplomat who has studied China for more than forty years, and yet I still can’t answer some of my students’ most basic questions about China’s policy-making process. Where—in which institutional arena and at...

Media

05.26.15

Weighing Mao’s Legacy in China Today

Roderick MacFarquhar, Susan Shirk & more
At the May 21 Asia Society event ChinaFile Presents: Does Xi Jinping Represent a Return to the Politics of the Mao Era?, a discussion of author Andrew Walder’s new book, China Under Mao: A Revolution Derailed, sparked a lively debate about the...

Viewpoint

06.03.14

China’s Maritime Provocations

Susan Shirk
Last weekend I attended the Shangri-La Dialogue, an annual gathering of Asian, European, and American defense and military officials and strategic experts in Singapore hosted by the London International Institute of Strategic Studies. China sent a...

Conversation

05.09.14

The China-Vietnam Standoff: How Will It End?

Daniel Kliman, Ely Ratner & more
Daniel Kliman:Five thousand miles from Ukraine, off the coast of Vietnam, China is taking a page from Russian leader Vladimir Putin’s playbook. Beijing’s recent placement of a huge oil drilling rig in disputed waters in the South China Sea leverages...

Other

12.23.13

[Transcript] One Year Later, China’s New Leaders

J. Stapleton Roy, Susan Shirk & more
Nearly a year to the day after seven new leaders ascended to their posts on the Standing Committee of China’s Politburo, the Asia Society held a public conversation with The New Yorker’s Evan Osnos; Dr. Susan Shirk of the University of California,...