Header image


Joint project by MERICS and IISS

The focus of China’s foreign and security policies is shifting outward. As Beijing seeks to engage in the international security arena as a key military and political stakeholder, China is increasingly shaping power balances in the Asia-Pacific and beyond. The China Security Project is an innovative collaboration between the Mercator Institute for China Studies (MERICS) and the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS).

Launched in October 2017, the China Security Project brings together the two institutes’ strengths in China analysis and security-related research. The project aims to address China’s defence and security policy, diplomatic initiatives, indigenous defence industry, hard power capabilities, military operations, as well as the domestic drivers of Beijing’s changing policies, through a variety of publications, in-depth analyses and public events, revolving around a biannual tracker of China’s policies, strategies and activities in the security arena. The institutes offer a wealth of knowledge, utilize Chinese language research and provide meaningful insight to answer the fundamental question: how is China’s role in the international security arena changing, and why?

The China Security Project is run by two lead researchers, MERICS analyst Helena Legarda and the IISS London’s Research Fellow for Chinese Defence Policy and Military Modernisation Meia Nouwens.

Project Team

Meie Nouwens

Helena Legarda is a Research Associate in the Foreign Relations Program at MERICS. Her research focuses on China’s foreign and security policies, including their domestic sources and drivers, and their geopolitical impact. Prior to joining MERICS she gained professional experience at the Delegation of the European Union to China and at research and advisory firm China Policy in Beijing. Legarda holds a Master in Public Policy degree with a focus on International and Global Affairs from the Harvard Kennedy School of Government and a BA in Chinese Studies from the University of Oxford. She also studied Chinese language at Peking University.

Meia Nouwens

Meia Nouwens is the Research Fellow for Chinese Defence Policy and Military Modernisation within the IISS Defence and Military Analysis Programme. Her expertise lies in Chinese cross-service defence analysis, as well as China’s regional strategic affairs and international relations. Prior to commencing at IISS, she worked for the European External Action Service’s representation in Taipei. She holds four years of experience in security and defence as a private sector consultant focussing on conflict resolution and post-conflict reconstruction. Nouwens holds a BA Honours in International Relations and Political Science from Macquarie University, a Masters of International Relations and Diplomacy from Leiden University in conjunction with the Clingendael Institute, and an MPhil in Modern Chinese Studies from the University of Oxford and Peking University.