To be sure, looming losses in China's debt market are bound to drag down the Chinese economy in significant ways, Chovanec said, but the key point is that China is not exposed to foreign debt.
"Where countries run into currency crises is when they owe a lot of money abroad, or where there's dependence on foreign financing to support consumption levels. China is not in that circumstance," he told "Squawk Box."
Instead the yuan is facing pressure because capital is fleeing the country, which Chovanec chalked up to a failure to rebalance the economy and shift toward consumption.
A weaker yuan would erode the purchasing power of Chinese consumers, which would create an incentive for them to convert yet more yuan into dollars.
"It's a very different kind of crisis with a very different kind of solution," Chovanec said.
However, it is difficult to believe that with China's relatively low GDP per capita, the country can quickly transition to a consumer economy, said Boris Schlossberg, managing director of FX Strategy at BK Asset Management and a CNBC contributor.
"You can't turn a Chinese consumer into an American consumer overnight. That I think is the biggest problem they're facing right now," he told "Squawk Box."
The PBOC is "playing chicken with the market," said Schlossberg. While consensus says the yuan must ultimately fall 20 to 25 percent to rebalance the economy and reflate trade numbers, a decline would only lead to more capital flight.