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Chen Li

Chen Li

PhD Student, Chinese Studies


Before I came to Cambridge for PhD in 2008, I had completed my M.A. in international relations at Peking University and LSE, and B.A. in history at Beijing Normal University.

Subject groups/Research projects

Chinese Studies:

Research Interests

Research Interest

In general, I am interested in modern international relations and modern warfare, In particular:

  • Modern Chinese diplomatic and military history
  • World War II and Cold War history
  • Contemporary Chinese foreign policy and security strategy
Current Research

I am working on the transformation of the Chinese Army’s operational effectiveness during the Sino-Japanese War (1937-1945), Chinese Civil War (1945-1950), and Korean War (1950-1953). I will examine several formations of the Nationalist Army who had fought both the Burma Campaigns of the Sino-Japanese War and Manchuria battles of the Chinese Civil War, and their Communist adversaries in Manchuria, who also involved in the Korean War later. During the three long and highly intensified wars, these units managed to absorb the lessons of defeat, master available weapons and technologies, and develop operational and combative skills. As a result, their modernization was more successful than those Chinese Army units relied mainly on peacetime training and fought brief wars in modern Chinese history. The transformation of the military not only shaped the warfare but also had crucial implications on China’s domestic politics as well as foreign relations.