Drew Thompson

Drew Thompson was the Director of China Studies and Starr Senior Fellow at the Center for the National Interest in Washington, D.C., until April 8, 2011, when he took a position with the Department of Defense.  Prior to joining the Center, he was the National Director of the China-MSD HIV/AIDS Partnership in Beijing, a 5 year, $30 million HIV/AIDS program established by Merck & Co. and the Chinese Ministry of Health. Mr. Thompson served previously as Assistant Director to the Freeman Chair in China Studies at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS).  He also was the president of a Washington, D.C. company that manufactured snack food in Qingdao, China.  He lived in Shanghai from 1993 to 1998 where he was the General Manager of a U.S. freight forwarding and logistics firm, overseeing offices in Beijing, Shanghai, and Nanjing.  Mr. Thompson was the founder and Chairman of the American Chamber of Commerce Transportation and Logistics Committee in Shanghai and has traveled extensively throughout China in both urban and rural areas.

Mr. Thompson studied Chinese language at Beijing University in 1990, and was a graduate student in 1992 at the Johns Hopkins University Center for Chinese and American Studies in Nanjing, China.   He graduated cum laude with a B.A. in Asian Studies from Hobart College in 1992, and was elected to Phi Beta Kappa.  In 2004, Mr. Thompson received an M.A. in Government, with a concentration in Homeland Security, from Johns Hopkins University. 

Mr. Thompson has authored articles on Sino-U.S. relations, international security and public health in Foreign Policy, China Security, The China Business Review, The International Herald Tribune, The Financial Times, China: An International Journal, The South China Morning Post and is a regular contributor to China Brief. Mr. Thompson has conducted live television interviews for CNN, C-SPAN, Fox News, Bloomberg, the BBC, Voice of America and CNBC Asia. In addition, he has conducted interviews on National Public Radio, including appearances on the Diane Rehm show.


Areas of Expertise:

  • U.S.-China Relations
  • China’s Domestic Challenges, Non-traditional Security Threats
  • China’s Public Health System, Global Health Governance, HIV/AIDS
  • Chinese Foreign Policy



  • Mandarin Chinese

Recent Publications


"China on the Edge: China's Border Provinces and Chinese Security Policy," Center for the National Interest and Johns Hopkins SAIS, April 2011

"Northeast Asia in Afghanistan: Whose Silk Road?" Center for the National Interest and U.S.-Korea Institute at SAIS, March 2011. The Center is grateful for the support of the Japan Foundation's Center for Global Partnership, who greatly contributed to this project.

"Silent Partners: Chinese Joint Ventures in North Korea," U.S.-Korea Institute at SAIS, February 2011

"Six-Party Talks and China's Goldilocks Strategy: Getting North Korea Just Right," KEI, January 2011

"Hu's Really in Control in China?" Foreign Policy, 17 January 2011.

"Think Again: China's Military," Foreign Policy, March/April 2010

"Rumble in the Junta," Foreign Policy, January 28, 2010

"America and China diverge on a shared Korean goal,"  Financial Times,  December 8 2009

"Border Burdens: China’s Response to the Myanmar Refugee Crisis," China Security, Fall 2009

"The Geopolitics of Cross-Strait Disaster Relief," China Brief, September 10, 2009

"A Northeast Asian Solution for Af - Pak 2009" PacNet, July 9, 2009

"The Real Bridge to Nowhere; China's foiled North Korea Strategy," USIP, 2009

China's Health Care Reform Redux
, CSIS, 2009

The Future of the Taiwan Relations Act and U.S.-Taiwan Relations, Presented at The International Conference on 30 Years of the TRA - Retrospect and Prospects, 2009

Flood Across the Border: China's Disaster Relief Operations and Potential Response to a North Korean Refugee Crisis, US-Korea Institute, 2009

China's Health-Care Challenge, Wall Street Journal, April 16, 2009

"Will China’s Olympics be a success?" Financial Times, February 19, 2008 

“Lesson for China International Herald Tribune, February 18, 2008

“Singh's Visit to China: Views from Beijing
China Brief –The Jamestown Foundation, February 14, 2008

“Whose problem is it?” International Herald Tribune, January 28, 2008

Beijing Olympics: More at Stake than Gold Medals” The China Business Review, January/February 2008

"Food Safety in China: New Strategies" (PDF) Global Health Governance, Volume I, No. 2, December, 2007

"Olympic Security Collaboration" (PDF) China Security, Spring 2008.

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