I study the Indo-Pacific, China, and maritime security.
- US-China strategic competition
- Australia-China relations
- Maritime powers in the Indo-Pacific
- 'Two oceans' strategy
- The South China Sea
- Taiwan Strait
- Chinese politics
- China's foreign policy
- China's military (navy)
- China's maritime power and strategy
- China's maritime thinking and history
- China's role in oceans governance
- China's maritime actors
- Grey zone operations
- Oceans governance
- Arctic governance
China's Maritime Security Strategy: The Evolution of a Growing Sea Power. Routledge (2021). https://doi.org/10.4324/9781003158523.
“An overview of the Australian Centre on China in the World, The Australian National University”. Sinology Communication Research, 2023, 42 (1): 29-32. https://ccs.ncl.edu.tw/files/current_newsletter/02_042_001_03_01.pdf. (Co-authored with Annie Luman Ren, Australian National University) *
“Lawships or warships? Coast guards as agents of (in)stability in the Pacific and South and East China Sea”. Marine Policy, 2022. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.marpol.2022.105048. (Co-authored with Douglas Guilfoyle, UNSW Canberra)
“Beyond Mahanianism: the evolution of China’s policy discussion on sea power development”. Asian Security, 2021, 18 (1): 38-55. https://doi.org/10.1080/14799855.2021.1949583.
[Forthcoming] “From excessive to illegal land reclamation: a case study in China”. In Martin Wright and Yarin Eski (eds), Routledge handbook of maritime crime & policing. Routledge.
[Forthcoming] “Coast Guards’ Changing Nature: The Rise of the China Coast Guard”. In Clive Schofield and John Bradford (eds), Maritime Cooperation and security in the Indo-Pacific Region: Essays in honour of Sam Bateman. Koninklike Brill.
“Growing as a Sea Power: Development of China’s Maritime Security Strategy from Deng Xiaoping to Xi Jinping (1978-2018).” PhD dissertation, University of Sydney, 2020. https://hdl.handle.net/2123/21753.
“The Shanghai Pilot Free Trade Zone: Laboratory for a new economic model?” Master thesis, University of Melbourne, 2014.
“Rethinking uniqueness of China’s sea power development”. Australian Journal of Maritime & Ocean Affairs, 2020, 12 (4): 269-275. https://doi.org/10.1080/18366503.2020.1834061.
Review of “The world according to China”. The China Journal, 2022, 88: 206-208. https://doi.org/10.1086/720239.
Review of “Global challenges in maritime security: an introduction”. Global Change, Peace & Security, 2020, 33(1): 100-102. https://doi.org/10.1080/14781158.2020.1809368.
Review of “China’s Grand Strategy: A Framework Analysis”. Global Change, Peace & Security, 2020, 33 (1): 96-98. https://doi.org/10.1080/14781158.2020.1798915.
Review of “Will China’s rise be peaceful? Security, stability and legitimacy, Global Change, Peace & Security”. Global Change, Peace & Security, 2020, 32 (1): 103-104. https://doi.org/10.1080/14781158.2019.1629581.
“Among the Sea Powers: Australia’s Maritime Strategy in the Indo-Pacific”. Australian Outlook, Australian Institute of International Affairs, 17 October 2022, https://www.internationalaffairs.org.au/australianoutlook/among-the-sea-powers-australias-maritime-strategy-in-the-indo-pacific/.
“The Emerging World-class Navy: How China Acquired Its First Aircraft Carrier”. The China Story, 11 July 2022, https://www.thechinastory.org/the-emerging-world-class-navy-how-china-acquired-its-first-aircraft-carrier/.
“Australia’s civil maritime security strategy may not be so ‘civil’”. 9Dashline, 14 June 2022, https://www.9dashline.com/article/australias-civil-maritime-security-strategy-may-not-be-so-civil.
“Gender selection: More boys born in Australia's Chinese community, data reveals”. SBS Chinese, 1 July 2021, https://www.sbs.com.au/chinese/english/gender-selection-more-boys-born-in-australia-s-chinese-community-data-reveals
“La cina diventerà una Potenza marittima non un impero dei mari [China will become a maritime power not an empire of the seas]”. Rivista Italiana di Geopolitica [Italian Review of Geopolitics], 2020, issue 10, 311-316.
Conference Papers and Seminar Presentations
“China’s perspective on ocean governance (and how it informs procurement)” in Sovereignty and Shipbuilding: Strategy, Politics, and Policy, UNSW Canberra/ École Navale Workshop, Canberra, 2022.
“Maintaining a good order at sea or developing seapower: rethinking civil maritime security in the Indo-Pacific” in Australian Political Studies Association (APSA) Annual Conference. Australian National University, Canberra, 2022.
“What is China’s maritime power?” in The ANU China Seminar Series. Australian National University, Canberra, 2022.
“China's maritime strategy and its implications for the Asia-Pacific region and beyond” in Royal Military College of Canada Webinar series (Online), 2021.
“Australia-China-US relations and Australia’s foreign policies” in 13th Politics and International Relations Academic Community Annual Conference. Qinghua University, Beijing, 2020. *
“Understanding of sea power: from China’s perspective” in University of New South Wales Arts & Social Sciences HDR Student Conference. University of New South Wales, Sydney, 2019.
“China’s maritime security strategy in Jiang Zemin era” in University of Sydney Postgraduate Research Day. University of Sydney, Sydney, 2018.
“Understanding China’s maritime security: from Haifang to Haishang anquan” in Chinese Studies Association of Australia Postgraduate Research Day. Macquarie University, Sydney, 2017.
“China’s maritime strategy: what is it and what explains it?” in Graduate Seminar on China. Chinese University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong, 2017.
* Presented in Chinese
Other Research Interests
Teaching and learning in higher education
- Teaching and learning in political science
- Course and assessment design
- Teaching support
- Hybrid learning mode
- PhD life
Hong Kong politics
- Hong Kong-China relations
- Hong Kong diaspora
- International relations and Hong Kong
Bringing my research interests into classroom
As an intellectual, I am always interested in bridging my research and teaching.
I have drafted a teaching outline of a subject, ‘Maritime security in the 21st century’, that I would like to teach in the future. This unit explores why maritime security is still important in the contemporary era. If you are interested in viewing my teaching outline, please feel free to contact me at your convenience.
I study international relations, security studies and regional studies, specifically the Indo-Pacific region. By focusing on China, my work seeks to explain the foreign and security policies of the most important rising power today. In particular, with a specific focus on maritime security, my work aims to both enhance the understanding of China as a rising sea power and to discern all the topical maritime security issues in the Indo-Pacific.
The rise of the People’s Republic of China (PRC) has always been of continuous interest among academics, policymakers and media, as many are interested in the influence of China’s growing power on the existing global order. China’s growing sea power has been one of the major topics in this lively discussion, especially, as in recent years, the Chinese government has pursued a more assertive maritime strategy to resolve offshore disputes. The phrase ‘constructing a strong maritime power’ has been a political statement in China and has appeared frequently in official documents. However, as a continental power for more than two thousand years, China has historically shown little interest in maritime politics.
Therefore, my research is motivated by two principal questions: first, why is China developing its maritime power? As the PRC has been increasing its presence in maritime disputes in recent years, the answer to this question will help us to comprehend all of China’s ambitions and goals on the oceans. Second, to what extent does China’s maritime power differ from historical maritime empires? While Beijing has continuously claimed that the country has been developing a ‘different’ sea power to that of the past, many believe that such a claim is just a smokescreen for China’s ambition as a revisionist power. Therefore, this question attempts to reassess the characteristics of Chinese maritime power in the 21st century.
China’s oceans governance and international order
I am interested in is about China’s evolving role in oceans governance. Since 1982, the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) has been the fundamental international guideline for oceans governance. However, there are unprecedented challenges driven by a new era of ideological conflict and competition at sea. Some states are developing sustained campaigns challenging previously determined norms and values.
China – the country on which my research focuses – has been using maritime militia to increase its presence in the South China Sea. As a major non-Western country, China has a different, more comprehensive understanding of sea power than traditional naval-oriented maritime empires. Thus, its motivation and incentive of international participation in maritime affairs could possibly reshape existing maritime orders.
Therefore, I am interested in how China’s oceans governance could reshape the existing maritime order, as well as transform our understanding of maritime security. This research direction is important to the field because ocean governance is one of the major challenges in multilateral cooperation in the face of political and technological changes and has a significant contribution in an international context. Ultimately, this knowledge will help to inform research and policy frameworks of maritime security, strengthening Asia-Pacific countries’ ability to protect their citizens and safeguard their maritime domain.
I am currently collaborating with several scholars in the field and working closely with the Sea Power Centre, Australia on this project.
Domestic maritime players and China’s grey zone strategy
There has been a growing concern among states in the region that China has been pursuing coercive and paramilitary actions in the South China Sea, given that these actions have challenged the traditional responses to maritime security in naval warfare. This study will reveal the motivation of China’s grey zone operations and the responses from non-state actors, states and institutions targeted by these activities. Using a two-level game analysis, I will offer important new insights into the effectiveness of China’s coercive activities towards domestic maritime players, states and regional institutions within and outside China.
This research is primarily designed to offer multiple insights, with regard to the impact of China’s pursuit of grey zone strategy towards the maritime order in the Asia-Pacific region, to scholars in Asian studies, international relations and security studies. It will provide new perspectives on maritime governance through the examination of grey areas of paramilitary actions. Secondarily, the study will help policymakers gain a comprehensive understanding of China’s grey zone strategy as well as the involvement of domestic maritime actors in maritime governance, which will strengthen its ability to secure its maritime domain. A preliminary proposal has been drafted for this research. While it requires more time to develop into a more matured study, I welcome further ideas and possibly collaboration in the future.
China and the Pacific
China's evolving policy in the Pacific has become a concern of the Australian government. While there has been research about the competing interests between Beijing and Canberra in various South Pacific countries, little has been studied from a holistic perspective. Therefore, my research is interested in the strategic competition among China and the western liberal countries in the South Pacific, and how does it affect China's development of maritime power and oceans governance.
I am currently collaborating with my colleagues at the ANU on drafting a research proposal.
Teaching contemporary China in Australia
While people are keener to learn about China, teaching about contemporary Chinese political system, economy, and society has become more challenging. Lecturers often encounter sensitive topics, divided ideas, contradictory thoughts and interests on various political issues in their classes. This study evaluates contemporary China studies courses offered by Australian universities since the decline of Australia-China relations during the global pandemic in 2020. It interviews academics, who are unit coordinators of China Studies courses, regarding their teaching experiences, including administration, course structure and in-class teaching experiences.
As the chief investigator, I collaborate this project with lecturers from other Australia universities. A research proposal has been drafted and we will possibly begin data collection in 2023.
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