Cheung is the director of the University of California Institute on Global Conflict and Cooperation (IGCC) and leads the institute's Study of Innovation and Technology in China project that examines China's efforts to become a world-class science and technology power. He is also a professor at the School of Global Policy and Strategy at UC San Diego, where he teaches courses on Chinese foreign and defense policy and Chinese security and technology policy.
Cheung is a long-time analyst of Chinese and East Asian defense and national security affairs, especially defense economic, industrial and science and technological issues. He was based in Asia from the mid-1980s to 2002 covering political, economic, and strategic developments in greater China. He was also a journalist and political and business risk consultant in northeast Asia.
Cheung received his Ph.D. from the War Studies Department at King’s College, London University, in 2007. He is the author of "Fortifying China: The Struggle to Build a Modern Defense Economy" (Cornell University Press, 2009), editor of "Forging China's Military Might: A New Framework for Assessing Innovation" (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2014), and co-editor of "The Gathering Pacific Storm: Emerging US-China Strategic Competition in Defense Technological and Industrial Development" (Cambria Press, 2018).
Areas of Expertise (5)
Chinese Science, Technology and Innovation
Chinese Political Economy
Chinese and East Asian Security and Defense Policy
King’s College, London University: Ph.D., War Studies 2007
Sussex University: B.A., International Relations, 1987
- International Institute for Strategic Studies : Member
Media Appearances (4)
Trump’s Vow To End Military Drills With Seoul Stuns Region
President Donald Trump's abrupt announcement Tuesday that he will suspend U.S. military drills in South Korea appeared to catch the Pentagon and the Seoul government flat-footed, and it contradicted a pillar of Defense Secretary Jim Mattis' campaign to make U.S. troops more combat-ready. During a news conference following his summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, Trump pushed his unconventional approach even further by calling annual U.S.-South Korean military exercises "provocative." He also said he'd like to remove all 28,500 U.S. troops stationed in the South, although he made clear this was an option for the future, not a part of current negotiations.
Chinese President Xi Jinping Goes After Former Top Military Leader in Campaign to Solidify Power
A former top Chinese general, Fang Fenghui, is set to be prosecuted by China's military over charges of bribery as part of President Xi Jinping's broader campaign against corruption in his country's armed forces, ABC News reported Tuesday. Fang, former chief of the Chinese People's Liberation Army's joint staff department, potentially faces life in prison and his reportedly likely to be convicted. The ex-military leader disappeared from public view around August, signifying his demise.
Xi Jinping Presses Military Overhaul, and Two Generals Disappear
New York Times
He was one of China’s most prominent commanders, with hopes of rising higher. So when Gen. Fang Fenghui disappeared from public view, it sent a clear warning to the top leaders of the People’s Liberation Army: President Xi Jinping was not done shaking up their once-unassailable ranks. General Fang, the chief of the army’s Joint Staff Department, was not the only military leader to fall ahead of next week’s Communist Party congress. Gen. Zhang Yang, the director of the military’s political department, also vanished from sight. Their names have not appeared in the Chinese news media for more than a month, when their successors were announced with no fanfare.
Video: Andrew Scobell And Tai Ming Cheung Examine The Remaking Of The PLA By Xi Jinping
"Tai Ming Cheung is the director of IGCC and the leader of IGCC’s Minerva project “The Evolving Relationship Between Technology and National Security in China: Innovation, Defense Transformation, and China’s Place in the Global Technology Order.” He is a long-time analyst of Chinese and East Asian defense and national security affairs. Cheung was based in Asia from the mid-1980s to 2002 covering political, economic, and strategic developments in greater China. He was also a journalist and political and business risk consultant in northeast Asia..."
The Rise of China as a Cybersecurity Industrial Power: Balancing National Security, Geopolitical, and Development PrioritiesJournal of Cyber Policy
Cheung, Tai Ming
2018 This article examines the development of China’s cybersecurity industry over the past two decades since the arrival of the internet in that country. This analysis takes place from a primarily security and technology perspective because the national security apparatus occupies a powerful presence in China’s cyber affairs. Moreover, the development of the cybersecurity industry is significantly driven by the development of technological capabilities. Key issues explored include: (1) Chinese decisionmaking and thinking on cybersecurity development within the context of the Chinese leadership’s general approach to development, national security, and technology advancement; (2) the nature and characteristics of recent Chinese cybersecurity related development strategies and plans; (3) the drivers behind the development of China’s cybersecurity industry, looking especially at market failures, national security rationales, and government intervention; (4) the proliferation of principal actors and coalitions in the Chinese cybersecurity industry and how this influences its development; and (5) the nature of the relationship between the state and cybersecurity firms, in particular examining four types of interactions: the state as a customer; state hiring of talent; the state’s direct regulatory power, and the state as an investor.
How China’s Defense Innovation System Is Advancing the Country’s Military Technological RiseUC San Diego Institute on Global Conflict and Cooperation SITC Research Briefs
Cheung, Tai Ming
2018 This brief examines the factors at work in the Chinese defense innovation system. There are many reasons explaining the successful transformation of the Chinese defense innovation system from an ossified dinosaur in the 1990s to an increasingly credible military technological competitor on the global stage at the end of the 2010s. China’s approach to defense innovation has undergone considerable evolution since it launched a full-fledged modernization of its defense science, technology, and industrial (DSTI) system in the late 1990s. Some of these changes mirror what has taken place within the civilian sector, but there is also much that is different because of the specific dynamics of the defense arena.
North Korea’s Approach to Defense Innovation: Foreign Absorption, Domestic Innovation, and the Nuclear and Ballistic Weapons Industrial BaseUC San Diego Institute on Global Conflict and Cooperation SITC Research Briefs
Haggard, StephanCheung, Tai Ming
2018 The international community has consistently underestimated North Korean nuclear and missile capabilities. How has an economically impoverished, technologically backward, and internationally isolated state been able to establish robust and increasingly competent nuclear weapons and ballistic missile programs, especially since the mid-2010s? Has North Korea predominantly relied on foreign sources of technology or are its nuclear and missile programs the result of domestic effort? Even when technologies have been borrowed, a detailed analysis of the evolution of the programs suggests sustained domestic investment has proven crucial. The result is a far-flung and large weapons of mass destruction (WMD) infrastructure. Any negotiations over the program must take the extent of this infrastructure into account and consider the challenges of how to inspect, verify, and limit them, including through repurposing these capabilities to civilian uses.
Critical Factors in Enabling Defense Innovation: A Systems PerspectiveUC San Diego Institute on Global Conflict and Cooperation SITC Research Briefs
Cheung, Tai Ming
2018 This brief provides an analytical framework to identify, categorize, and assess the diverse array of factors that are involved in the pursuit of defense innovation, as viewed through an innovation ecosystem prism. Defense innovation systems are engaged in highly complex, time-consuming and resource-intensive work. Many of the insights from this framework are derived from an extensive examination into the state of innovation in the contemporary Chinese defense science, technology, andindustrial system, examined in more detail in Brief 2018-3 in this series.
Innovation in China’s Defense Technology Base: Foreign Technology and Military CapabilitiesJournal of Strategic Studies
Cheung, Tai Ming
2016 China’s defense science, technology, and industrial system has been undergoing a far-reaching transformation over the past two decades and the single biggest factor behind this turnaround is the role of external technology and knowledge transfers and the defense industry’s improving ability to absorb these inputs and convert into localized output. China is pursuing an intensive campaign to obtain defense and dual-use civil–military foreign technology transfers using a wide variety of means, which is explored in this article.
Frameworks for Analyzing Chinese Defense and Military InnovationUC San Diego Institute on Global Conflict and Cooperation SITC Research Briefs
Cheung, Tai Ming
2011 This policy brief puts forward an analytical framework to capture the nature, dimensions, and spectrum of innovation in the military and broader defense spheres. Insights are drawn from a range of disciplines, including history, social science, business, and strategic studies. The analytical framework is composed of six lenses through which to view the inputs, process, and output of innovation: 1) the components of innovation: technology, doctrine, and organization; 2) the capacity to innovate: that is, innovation potential; 3) the process of innovation: speculation, experimentation, and implementation; 4) the degree of innovation: from duplicative imitation to radical innovation; 5) the scope of innovation; and 6) systems of innovation.