Yali Chen passed the dissertation defense, with distinction, in July 2015. Her dissertation, The PLA in China’s Foreign and Security Policy-making: Drivers, Mechanism and Interactions, studies the influence the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) exerts in China’s foreign and security policy-making process. She graduated from Renmin University of China with a B.A. degree in international relations in 1994 and received a master’s degree from the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs at Princeton University in 2002.
Chen was a pre-doctoral research fellow at Brookings Institution in 2013-14. From 2002-2012, she worked for the Washington-based Center for Defense Information, World Security Institute (WSI), and Global Zero as a Research Analyst and Editor. In addition to conducting research and writing on U.S.-China relations, she focused on policy research on China’s military modernization, as well as a wide range of policy issues from nuclear arms control, non-proliferation, the South China Sea disputes, to the U.S.-China mil-to-mil relationship. She co-founded WSI’s China office, and China Security, an English-language policy journal devoted to U.S.-China security policy issues and a unique forum for Chinese thinkers to share their opinions with the policy circles of the United States. Chen also founded and managed Washington Observer Weekly, a Chinese-language e-magazine on U.S.-China relations, which reached numerous Chinese government officials and military officers, as well as university educators and academic researchers. She worked as the China Liaison for Global Zero, an international nuclear disarmament group, in 2008-2012, for which she interacted with relevant agencies including Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the PLA, the 9th Academy and China's arms control community to promote understanding and conduct dialogues on nuclear arms control. She taught international security crisis management at various universities including National Defense University of Technology.
Chen worked for China Daily as a reporter and Op-ed writer in 1994-2000. During her career as a journalist at China Daily, she won national news awards including: the first prize of China’s International News Award, granted by the News Office of China’s State Council in 1997; the second prize of China’s Legislation News, granted by China’s National People’s Congress; and the third prize of China’s International News Award in 1995.
Her research interests include the PLA, China’s foreign and defense policy-making, maritime security policies, China’s science and technology policies, technology innovation and China’s regional development, and civil-military interactions.