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Photo: Gilberto Tadday / TED

LIU Hongqiao (刘虹桥, pinyin: liú hóng qiáo) is a Paris-based independent journalist and policy consultant. Her work focuses on the intersection of energy, climate, finance, and geopolitics, providing independent analyses of China’s emergence and global impacts to global clients.

Born and raised in China, Hongqiao 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-contaminated 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”)

Hongqiao 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, she 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 engagement with public and private sector stakeholders have resulted in substantial social and policy changes in and outside China. (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 Ember to initiate a new project aimed at fast-tracking coal mine methane emission reduction; with the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) to establish a policy initiative aimed at ending 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 goes on. (See also: “Consulting”)

In 2021, following China’s announcement of the groundbreaking ‘dual-carbon’ goals, Hongqiao 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 in 2021, answering the 11-gigatonne question, “Can China achieve its ambitious climate pledges?” and a year later, at the TED Countdown Dilemma Series, to provide her independent assessment of China’s energy transition progress. (See also: “Testimonials” and “Events”)

Hongqiao 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 was a visiting fellow at the University of Oxford (2023) and the University of the Witwatersrand (2013), a Raisina Young Fellow (2022), and named to Vox’s Future Perfect 50 list (2022) as a “visionary change agent.” Additionally, she sits on the Advisory Committee on Global Just Transition of the Institute for Policy Studies. Hongqiao speaks fluent Chinese, English, and French.