Eric X. Li

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Eric Xun Li
Li in 2019
Li Shimo

(1968-05-04) May 4, 1968 (age 54)[1]
CitizenshipPeople's Republic of China[2]
Alma mater
Occupation(s)Venture capitalist, political scientist
Chinese name

Eric Xun Li,[2] born Li Shimo (Chinese: 李世默; born 4 May 1968[1]), is a Chinese venture capitalist and political scientist. He founded the Chinese news site观察者网),[3][4] and has defended single party rule in China versus a multi-party system.[5][6][7]

Early life and education[edit]

Li was born and raised in Shanghai. He went to the United States for higher education in the late 1980s. He received his BA in economics from the University of California, Berkeley, and an MBA from the Graduate School of Business at Stanford University. He also has a PhD in political science from Fudan University.[8]

Business ventures[edit]

In 2000, Li returned to China and founded Chengwei Capital, with an investment portfolio of over $2 billion. Its top investments include Youku, an Internet-based television service, and Huazhu Hotels Group, a chain of Chinese budget hotels.[8]


In 2011, Li founded, a digital news platform.[9][10][11][12][13] Zihao Chen of University College London viewed the site as an online entity with "very conservative political attitudes".[14]

In an op-ed he wrote for The New York Times in 2012, he said that China needed a different development framework around a different idea of modernity.[15]

In a 2012 op-ed and a 2013 TED Talk, Li advocated for China's one-party state on the grounds of "pluralism", saying that China has prospered under a "meritocratic system" and alleviated poverty without elections, and that its system is superior to Western democracy in several respects.[5][6][7] Some commentators have deemed Li's talk to be pro-China propaganda spread on a Western platform, using Western-style arguments and flexible rhetorics.[7][16]

In a 2018 opinion piece he wrote for The Washington Post, Li argued it was "a good thing" that General Secretary of the Chinese Communist Party and paramount leader Xi Jinping abolished his two-term limits for governing the country.[17] In a 2020 op-ed he wrote for Foreign Policy, Li said that Xi is a "good emperor".[18] In a 2021 opinion piece he wrote for The Economist, Li criticized liberal democracy in favor of the "current Chinese government" (which he described as a different form of democracy).[19]

In a 2020 interview with David Barboza, Eric Li described the China Policy of the Trump administration as an “irrational rivalry”, a competition in which the US is willing to hurt China even by hurting itself. He argued that global problems, such as climate change, nuclear proliferation, and the pandemic, have been neglected to a horrible degree due to the lack of cooperation between the two great powers. He hoped the Biden administration to moderate its hegemonic mindset and “bring about a period of calm” for both the US and China.[20]


Li also serves on the board of directors of China Europe International Business School (CEIBS), the board of Stanford University's Graduate School of Business and the Freeman Spogli Institute (FSI). He is a trustee of Fudan University's China Institute, a trustee of the Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive of the University of California, Berkeley, a trustee of the San Francisco Symphony, a trustee of Asia Society Hong Kong, a member of the international board of the New York Philharmonic, a member of the Council of the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS), which organizes the annual Shangri-La Dialogue.[21][9][22][23][24][25][26][27]


  1. ^ a b Eng, Karen Frances (June 13, 2013). "A tale of two systems: Eric X. Li at TEDGlobal 2013". TED Blog. Retrieved February 4, 2022.
  2. ^ a b c "OneSmart International Education Group Limited". Securities and Exchange Commission. December 31, 2019. Retrieved July 6, 2021.
  3. ^ Shepherd, Christian (October 4, 2020). "China rolls out experimental Covid vaccine as it eyes global market". Financial Times. Archived from the original on September 2021.
  4. ^ de Sá, Nelson (June 27, 2021). "China can do what it says to be strong, Lula tells Guancha". The Sentinel. Kennesaw State University. Retrieved December 10, 2021.
  5. ^ a b Bell, Daniel; Li, Eric (November 12, 2012). "In defence of how China picks its leaders". Financial Times. Retrieved December 10, 2021.
  6. ^ a b "Eric X. Li: A tale of two political systems". June 2013. Retrieved December 10, 2021.
  7. ^ a b c Carlson, Benjamin (August 9, 2013). "The TED talk as propaganda vehicle". MinnPost. Retrieved February 22, 2022.
  8. ^ a b Rachman, Gideon (February 7, 2020). "Eric Li: 'How do you block a country of 1.4bn people?'". Financial Times. Retrieved December 10, 2021.
  9. ^ a b "Eric Li". Aspen Institute. Retrieved December 10, 2021.
  10. ^ Gardels, Nathan (July 13, 2016). "This Chinese Video Explains Why Beijing Rejects The South China Sea Ruling". HuffPost; The WorldPost. Retrieved December 10, 2021.
  11. ^ Langley, William; McMorrow, Ryan (December 23, 2021). "Intel apologises for banning use of components from Xinjiang". Financial Times. Archived from the original on December 23, 2021. Retrieved December 23, 2021.
  12. ^ "Communist Party emerges from shadows during Hong Kong crackdown". France 24. July 10, 2021. Retrieved December 23, 2021.
  13. ^ Yuan, Li (January 15, 2021). "As Trump Clashes With Big Tech, China's Censored Internet Takes His Side". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved December 23, 2021.
  14. ^ Chen, Zihao (2021). "The Populism Expression of Chinese Social Media During Coronavirus Pandemic: A Case Study on FangFang's 'Wuhan Diary' Under Her Weibo Account". Proceedings of the 2021 5th International Seminar on Education, Management and Social Sciences (ISEMSS 2021). Advances in Social Science, Education and Humanities Research. University College London. 571: 325. doi:10.2991/assehr.k.210806.060. S2CID 237510566.
  15. ^ Li, Eric X. (February 16, 2012). "Opinion | Why China's Political Model Is Superior". The New York Times. Retrieved December 10, 2021.
  16. ^ Luqiu, L.R. (2018). Propaganda, Media, and Nationalism in Mainland China and Hong Kong. Lexington Books. p. 11. ISBN 978-1-4985-7315-3. Retrieved February 22, 2022.
  17. ^ Li, Eric X. (April 2, 2018). "Opinion | Why Xi's lifting of term limits is a good thing". The Washington Post. Archived from the original on May 30, 2020. Retrieved December 7, 2021.
  18. ^ Li, Eric (May 14, 2020). "Xi Jinping Is a 'Good Emperor'". Foreign Policy. Retrieved July 23, 2021.
  19. ^ "Eric Li on the failure of liberal democracy and the rise of China's way". The Economist. December 8, 2021. Archived from the original on February 21, 2022. Retrieved December 9, 2021.
  20. ^ Barboza, David. "Eric X. Li on China's Success, America's Failure and the Irrational Rivalry". The Wire China.
  21. ^ "Eric X. Li". International Institute for Strategic Studies. Archived from the original on April 28, 2014. Retrieved December 22, 2016.
  22. ^ Caryl, Christian (October 15, 2014). "Sorry, Eric X. Li, Democracy Is Not the Problem". Foreign Policy. Retrieved December 22, 2016.
  23. ^ Carlson, Benjamin (August 11, 2013). "When a TED talk is a propaganda tool". Retrieved December 22, 2016.
  24. ^ Baker, David R. (January 13, 2016). "Eric X. Li talks about VC, innovation in China". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved December 22, 2016.
  25. ^ "Eric X. Li". Retrieved September 13, 2021.
  26. ^ "Eric X. Li". The Huffington Post. February 4, 2014. Retrieved December 22, 2016.
  27. ^ 中国研究院理事会 [China Institute Board of Trustees]. (in Chinese). Fudan University. Archived from the original on February 6, 2017. Retrieved June 26, 2018.

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]

Media related to Eric Xun Li at Wikimedia Commons