As investment banker, diplomat, lawyer, Harvard academic, and CIA spy, I have been involved with China for almost 40 years. And even longer, if you go back to my fascination with China that began after my grandparents returned from working on land reform in Taiwan when I was seven. I am one of the fortunate ones who has been able to devote my life and work to the thing that interests me most.
My China career began in 1978, when I joined the CIA. I was a case officer - a spy - in China Operations. I also qualified as Chinese Language Officer, and trained as a paramilitary officer as part of the Agency's 'Special Operations Group' reserve. At all times, I held Top Secret/Codeword clearances.
I left the CIA in 1984 to earn an MBA at Harvard Business School and to complete my Master of International Affairs at the School of International & Public Affairs at Columbia University.
After graduation, I worked at Salomon Brothers before starting my own boutique investment bank, RiddellTseng, in Taiwan in 1988. With a strong first-mover advantage, we grew quickly and gained a client list of leading international insurance and asset management firms, such as MetLife and Fidelity. When China's financial sector began to open in the early 1990s, we continued to offer our clients the same advisory and dealmaking services on the Mainland. Some decades later, we are now preparing to celebrate our 40th anniversary of advising clients on China.
In 2012, I started a new firm, CHINADebate. CHINADebate aims to bring together top China experts and decision makers - both in-person and online with CHINADebateTV - for discussions of the the issues that inform decisions about China and the global businesses, markets and economies that feel China's impact. And five years later, I created CHINADebateTV, an online video platform that presents the China analyses from leading experts around the world.
Now, let me fill in a few blanks.
First, I am also a lawyer, licensed to practice in Florida since 1976, Board Certified in International Law, and a former Vice Chair of the International Law Board Certification Committee.
Second, besides the CIA, I served in government as a U.S. Delegate to the UN, where I represented the U.S. at the Sixth (international law) Committee and advised the Ambassador at the UN Security Council. I also served as Undersecretary of State for International Affairs in my home state of Florida.
Finally, I am a Life Member of the Council on Foreign Relations.
My education and academic activities are outlined below.