Dean Cheng is a senior advisor to the China program at the U.S. Institute of Peace.

He joined USIP from The Heritage Foundation, where he spent over a decade as a senior research fellow on Chinese political and security affairs. He has written extensively on China’s military doctrine, the technological implications of its space program and “dual use” issues associated with China’s industrial and scientific infrastructure.

Before joining The Heritage Foundation, Cheng worked at Science Applications International Corporation and the China studies division of the Center for Naval Analyses, a federally funded research institute. He also served as an analyst for the international security and space program at the Office of Technology Assessment, a congressional agency, with particular expertise on China’s defense-industrial complex.

Cheng has testified many times before U.S. House and Senate committees on various aspects of Chinese security. He has appeared on public affairs shows such as “John McLaughlin’s One on One” and C-SPAN, as well as programs on NPR, CNN International, BBC World Service and International Television News.

He has been interviewed by or provided commentary for publications such as Time magazine, The Washington Post, Financial Times, Bloomberg News, Jane’s Defence Weekly, South Korea’s Chosun Ilbo, and Hong Kong’s South China Morning Post, and is the author of “Cyber Dragon,” an examination of Chinese information and cyber activities. He has also spoken at the National Space Symposium, National Defense University, the Air Force Academy, MIT and the Eisenhower Center for Space and Defense Studies.

Publications By Dean

Dean Cheng on China-Philippines Confrontations in the South China Sea

Dean Cheng on China-Philippines Confrontations in the South China Sea

Wednesday, August 16, 2023

By: Dean Cheng

Tensions between China and the Philippines over control of Second Thomas Shoal have become the focal point of China’s increasingly aggressive efforts to assert dominance over the South China Sea, says USIP’s Dean Cheng: “Essentially what [China] is saying is that huge swath of ocean … is somehow Chinese waters.”

Type: Podcast

How Should the U.S. Respond to China’s Brazen Pursuit of Spratly Islands Claim?

How Should the U.S. Respond to China’s Brazen Pursuit of Spratly Islands Claim?

Tuesday, August 15, 2023

By: Dean Cheng

In recent weeks, the People’s Republic of China (PRC) has dispatched ships and other maritime forces to the disputed Spratly islands near the Philippines. The goal has been to coerce the Philippines into withdrawing from the contested Second Thomas Shoal, effectively ceding it to the PRC. China’s actions are in defiance of the international Permanent Court of Arbitration’s findings that undermine PRC claims to the Spratlys. They therefore constitute a serious challenge to the international rules governing maritime conduct, as well as to broader peace and stability in the South China Sea, through which enormous amounts of global trade flow.

Type: Analysis

Global Policy

China and Space: The Next Frontier of Lawfare

China and Space: The Next Frontier of Lawfare

Wednesday, August 2, 2023

By: Dean Cheng

The People’s Republic of China (PRC) is one of the most thoughtful practitioners of legal warfare or “lawfare.” For PRC planners, especially those in the People’s Liberation Army (PLA), legal warfare is an integral part of the larger effort of “political warfare.” Indeed, legal warfare is embedded in the Chinese conception of political warfare.

Type: Analysis

Global Policy

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