Associate Professor, PhD Programme Director, Contemporary Chinese Studies, Faculty of Social Sciences
Dr. Lai's research covers China's domestic political economy (reform strategies, national-local relations, regional development and ethnic areas), governance (including protests, state-societal relations and institutional development), and foreign policy (domestic linkage, energy security and soft power). He has published eight books, twenty book chapters, as well as produced nineteen refereed journal articles.
His research has been published in leading or major journals in the field such as China Quarterly, China Journal, and Modern China, Eurasian Geography and Economics, Third World Quarterly, as well as established journals such as Journal of Contemporary China and Asian Perspective. His article on China's western development (2002) is one of the most frequently cited on the topic. His co-authored article on protests (Chung, Lai and Xia 2006) has been included in a collection of seminal works on Chinese politics (Routledge, 2009). His other often-cited articles cover China's energy security and diplomacy and religious activities. His publications become readings for leading universities in the US, Europe and Asia.
His single-authored books in English appear in established or leading presses in Asian and political studies. They include Reform and the Non-state Economy in China: The Political Economy of Liberalization Strategies (Palgrave Macmillan, 2006) and The Domestic Sources of China's Foreign Policy (Routledge, 2010). The former book has been praised by leading scholars in the fields as an important contribution to the literature on economic transition. The latter book is the first monograph on that important topic. In this book he criticizes the mainstream theories in international relations and develops a new framework to account for external conduct of nation-states especially China. His co-edited book China into the Hu-Wen Era: (World Scientific, 2006) is an earliest systemic assessment of the Chinese Hu-Wen leadership. His edited book Asian Energy Security: The Maritime Dimension (Palgrave Macmillan, 2009) explores energy and maritime security from the perspective of global public goods. His Chinese books include China under Scrutiny (Toushi Zhongguo, in Chinese) (2007), Hu-Wen under Full Scrutiny (Hu Wen Quan Toushi, in Chinese, 2005, reprinted), and A Study of Fame (Yiming Jingren, 1999).
Dr. Lai is also a prolific media commentator on China. His opinions and analyses appear in influential outlets including the Financial Times, China Daily, Far Eastern Economic Review, the International Economy magazine, the Straits Times and the Lianhe Zaobao (in Singapore). Some of his ideas have found echoes in China's subsequent management of domestic and external crises, foreign affairs, macro-economic and major local issues.
Governance; Protests and religious activities; Elite politics and leadership; Central-local relations; Democratisation and political reform; Ethnic policy; Religious policy; Economic reform and transition; Regional developmental programmes; Domestic sources of foreign policy; Economic diplomacy; China's soft power and international relations.
Topics related to China: Economic reform and transition; regional developmental programs, especially western development and central regional development; governance and institutional renewal; energy… read more
LAI, H. and LU, Y., eds., 2012. China's soft power and international relations Routledge.
O'HARA, S.L. and LAI, H., 2011. China's "dash for gas": challenges and potential implications on global markets Eurasian Geography and Economics. 52(4), 501-522
Topics related to China: Economic reform and transition; regional developmental programs, especially western development and central regional development; governance and institutional renewal; energy and maritime diplomacy; policies for addressing income and regional inequalities.
Broader topics: democratization and nationalism; East Asian summit.
Dr Lai is interested in supervising PhD students or Master by Research (MRes) students in the following areas:
Regional developmental programs, especially western development, central regional development, and northeast revival; Economic reform and transition; Central-local relations; Governance and institutional reform (including crisis management and ideological formulation); Elite politics and leadership; Democratisation and political reform; Ethnic policy; Religious policy and religious activities; Protests; Economic diplomacy; China's soft power; China's international relations; China's international political economy; Domestic sources of foreign policy; Linkage between domestic and external politics (and political economy); China's energy security and energy diplomacy; China's energy policy and energy sector.