Christopher K. Johnson
President and CEO, China Strategies Group
Christopher K. Johnson is the President and CEO of China Strategies Group, a political risk consulting firm. As one of the top China experts in the field, his insights frequently are sought out by the world’s leading corporate, financial, and other business interests to help develop strategies for clients pursuing opportunities in China and regionally. Chris is based in New York City but spends nearly half his time in China and the rest of Asia.
Chris also serves as a senior fellow in the office of the president at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), the preeminent foreign and security policy think tank in Washington, DC. His views and analysis on China frequently are featured in the world’s leading business, policy and media outlets.
An accomplished Asian affairs specialist, Chris spent nearly two decades serving in the United States Government’s intelligence and foreign affairs communities. In addition to his work advising multinational corporations on their business and commercial strategies in China and greater East Asia, his insights on the Chinese leadership and on Beijing’s economic, commercial, foreign and security policies are regularly sought by senior Administration, Congressional, military, and foreign government officials.
Chris worked as a senior China analyst at the Central Intelligence Agency, where he chronicled China’s dynamic political and economic transformation, the development of its robust military modernization program, and Beijing’s resurgence as a regional and global power. He played a key role in the analytic support to policy makers during the 1996 Taiwan Strait missile crisis, the 1999 accidental bombing of the Chinese Embassy in Belgrade, the downing of a U.S. reconnaissance aircraft on Hainan Island in 2001, and the SARS epidemic in 2003. He also helped shape senior officials’ understanding of the politics of the Jiang Zemin era, the successful leadership transition to Hu Jintao in 2002, and the ascent of the new Chinese leadership cohort under President Xi Jinping.
Chris was an intelligence liaison to two Secretaries of State and their deputies on worldwide security issues and in 2011 was awarded the U.S. Department of State’s Superior Honor Award for outstanding support to the Secretary and her senior staff. He also served with distinction in providing daily intelligence support to President George W. Bush. After departing the CIA in 2012, Chris served as the Freeman Chair in China Studies at CSIS for eight years, where he mirrored his government success by establishing himself as a highly acclaimed public thought leader on China.
Chris graduated summa cum laude with bachelor’s degrees in history and political science from the University of California, San Diego and received his master’s degree in Security Policy Studies from the George Washington University. During his CIA career, he served abroad in field sites throughout East Asia and speaks Mandarin Chinese.
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