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Christopher K. Johnson  

Senior Adviser and Freeman Chair in China Studies

Christopher K. Johnson is a senior adviser and holds the Freeman Chair in China Studies at CSIS. An accomplished Asian affairs specialist, Mr. Johnson spent nearly two decades serving in the U.S. government’s intelligence and foreign affairs communities and has extensive experience analyzing and working in Asia on a diverse set of country-specific and transnational issues. Throughout his career, he has chronicled China’s dynamic political and economic transformation, the development of its robust military modernization program, and its resurgence as a regional and global power. He has frequently advised senior White House, cabinet, congressional, military, and foreign officials on the Chinese leadership and on Beijing’s foreign and security policies.

Mr. Johnson worked as a senior China analyst at the Central Intelligence Agency, where he played a key role in the analytic support to policymakers 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 preparations for the fall 2012 leadership succession. Mr. Johnson served as 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 abroad in a field site in Southeast Asia. Mr. Johnson graduated summa cum laude with bachelor’s degrees in history and political science from the University of California at San Diego (1994) and received his M.A. in security policy studies from the George Washington University (1996). He is a member of Phi Beta Kappa.

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