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Photo: Gilberto Tadday / TED

LIU Hongqiao (刘虹桥, pinyin: liú hóng qiáo) is a Paris-based independent policy consultant and political advisor, and award-winning journalist. She works in the cross-cutting areas of policy, finance, and journalism, providing independent analyses of China’s emergence and global impact on the environment, energy, and climate to global clients.

Born and raised in China, Liu began her career as an investigative journalist at Southern Metropolis Daily and Caixin Media, two Chinese publications renowned for their fearless exposés. In 2011, she unveiled the then-called “National Dynamic Monitoring Network,” a prototype of the national surveillance system for “sensitive groups” in its early stages. During this time, she produced an extensive investigative series on China’s environmental crises, such as drinking water safety, “Cadmium-tainted rice,” and soil pollution, triggering national policy reforms and continuous nationwide civil society movements seeking transparency and accountability on the environment and public health. (See also: “Journalism”)

Liu received multiple awards during her brief journalism career in China (2010–2014) for her investigation and coverage of emerging environmental issues such as climate change, energy transition, and the environmental movement. Her investigations into the “Yihuang Demolition Self-Immolation Incident” earned her the first prize in a national journalism contest at age 20. She is the youngest recipient of the China Environmental Press Award, first for “Young Journalist of the Year” (2013) and then for “Best Investigation”. She also received the Asian Environmental Journalism Awards (2014) and an AAAS-Euralert Fellowship for International Science Reporters (2014). (See also: “Awards”)

After leaving the Chinese media industry in 2014, Liu turned her knowledge and insights into an independent consultancy on China’s environmental and governance issues. From 2014 to 2017, she directed an impact journalism initiative between China Dialogue and China Water Risk / ADM Capital Foundation to un-silo the discussion on water risks in science, policy, business, and investment. Her publications and involvement with public and private sector stakeholders have resulted in substantial policy changes and influenced the Chinese and international governments. (See also: “Publication”)

As an independent expert, she has collaborated with the International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD) to advise the China Council for International Cooperation on Environment and Development (CCICED) ’s Special Policy Studies; with the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) to initiate a new project that aims to end wildlife trade at the country and regional level; with WWF/TRAFFIC International to seek the best practice on combating wildlife cybercrime; with International Rivers to assess the environmental and social impacts of Chinese overseas investment; with Global Witness to develop a holistic communication strategy on fostering good governance on forests and natural resources; with Zoi Environment Network on greening the Belt and Road in Central Asia. And the list continues. (See also: “Consulting”)

In 2021, following China’s announcement of the groundbreaking ‘dual-carbon’ goals, Liu resumed her journalism career, positioning herself to bridge the ever-widening knowledge gaps on China’s climate and energy policy. She first worked with Carbon Brief, an award-winning website specialising in climate and energy policy, to launch the first dedicated English news desk on China’s energy and climate policy. Then in 2022, she created “Shuang Tan,” an independent reporting initiative dedicated to tracking China’s decarbonisation with facts, nuances, and insights. (See also: “Newsletter”)

Her comprehensive, nuanced, and balanced analyses have instantly become “a global reference point” and are read by senior diplomats, think tankers, journalists, and policy analysts worldwide. She was invited to speak at the TED Countdown Summit, answering the 11-gigatonne question, “Can China achieve its ambitious climate pledges?” and soon again, at the TED Countdown Dilemma Series, to provide her independent assessment of China’s energy transition progress. (See also: “Testimonials” and “Events”)

Liu holds a Master of International Relations and Affairs from the Paris School of International Affairs (PSIA) of the Paris Institute of Political Studies (Sciences Po Paris) and a B.A. degree in Communication Studies from Beijing Normal University. She is named to Vox’s Future Perfect 50 list (2022), a Raisina Young Fellow (2022), and a visiting fellow (2013) of the Africa-China Reporting Project at the University of the Witwatersrand. She speaks Chinese (Mandarin), English, and French.