School of Contemporary Chinese Studies

Image of Steve Tsang

Steve Tsang

Head of School and Professor of Contemporary Chinese Studies, Faculty of Social Sciences



Prior to assuming office as Head of School in May 2014, Steve Tsang (Professor of Contemporary Chinese Studies) served as Director of the China Policy Institute (2011-14). He came to the University of Nottingham from a Professorial Fellowship at St Antony's College, Oxford University. Professor Tsang was educated at the University of Hong Kong and the University of Oxford (St Antony's College). Apart from holding visiting appointments at the Hoover Institution (University of Stanford), the University of Melbourne, the Chinese University of Hong Kong, the Academia Sinica (Institute of Modern History), and the University of Hong Kong during leaves, he had hitherto always taught at the University of Oxford. At St Antony's College he had served as Dean, Director of its Asian Studies Centre, Director of its Taiwan Studies Programme, and Director of its Pluscarden Programme for the Study of Intelligence and Global Terrorism. Upon his departure from Oxford he was elected an Emeritus Fellow of St Antony's College.

Whist Director of the China Policy Institute at Nottingham he worked closely with colleagues and students to make the CPI the leading think tank and research centre on greater China in the EU, and the principal instrument for the School to deliver impact based on research conducted by its academic staff. As Head of School he focuses on leading the School to establish itself as the global leader in using social sciences methods to research and teach a wide range of subjects on contemporary China.

He has a broad area of research interest and has introduced an analytical concept called 'consultative Leninism' for understanding the nature of politics in the People's Republic of China. He is currently engaged in a research project on the direction of development in China under Xi Jinping with colleagues based at the Central Party School of Beijing. He is the author of five books and the editor or co-editor of eleven others. His academic papers have appeared in many edited volumes and cutting edge international journals including the China Quarterly, the China Journal, the Journal of Contemporary China, Asian Survey, Security Dialogue, the Journal of Imperial and Commonwealth History, Journal of International Affairs, and the Pacific Review.

Professor Tsang regularly contributes to public debates on different aspects of issues related to the politics, history, foreign policy, security and development of the People's Republic of China, Taiwan, Hong Kong and East Asia more generally. His op-ed comments have appeared in newspapers and magazines across the world, including The International Herald Tribune, Wall Street Journal, New York Times, The Foreign Policy Magazine, New Statesman, The World Today, South China Morning Post, China Daily, Taipei Times, The Strait Times, The Globe and Mail, The Toronto Star, The Boston Globe, Chicago Tribune, San Francisco Chronicle, The Seattle Times, The National, Far Eastern Economic Review, The Korea Times, and The Japan Times. He is a frequent commentator on British and European television and radio, particularly for the BBC (including Newsnight, BBC News, Ten O'Clock News, The Talk Show, Today, PM, Newshour, What If, various World Service programmes in English, World Service in Mandarin, and World Service in Cantonese). He is also widely quoted by the printed media. Outside of academia Professor Tsang has provided expert opinions to parliamentary committees in the UK, the EU and the USA, advised senior government officials, and joined Shell for its scenario planning. His non-academic work also includes serving as a region head for Oxford Analytica (1998-2011) and on the Advisory Board of Jardine Lloyd Thompson World Risk Review.

Expertise Summary

Nature of the political system and issues of governance in the People's China, Taiwan and Hong Kong; the foreign and security policies of China and Taiwan; the rise of China; US-China relations; UK-China relations; EU-China relations; peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait; peace and security in East Asia; democratic politics in Taiwan; the reintegration of Hong Kong into China; and the political and diplomatic history of China, Taiwan and Hong Kong from the 19th century.

Research Summary

  • The rise of China
  • The vitality of Taiwan
  • US commitment to the security of Taiwan
  • The Xian Incident (1936) and the start of the Sino-Japanese War
  • A biography of Chiang Kai-shek

Future Research

Prof. Tsang is interested in supervising PhD students or Master by Research (MRes) students in the following areas:

China's relations with the rest of the world; Chinese foreign policy; defence/security of China; political development and changes; nature of political system in China; China-Taiwan relations; Taiwan's relations with the rest of the world; politics in Taiwan; democratization in Taiwan; Taiwan's security; politics of Hong Kong; Hong Kong's relations with China and the rest of the world; history of Hong Kong.

School of Contemporary Chinese Studies

Si Yuan Centre
Jubilee Campus
Nottingham, NG8 1BB

telephone: 44 (0) 115 846 6322
fax: 44 (0) 115 846 6324
email: chinese.studies@nottingham.ac.uk