School of Contemporary Chinese Studies

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Jonathan Sullivan

Associate Professor; Director of Research, Faculty of Social Sciences



Dr Jonathan Sullivan is a China specialist and political scientist. Since visiting the country for the first time in 1993, he has spent more than twenty years learning and using Chinese, including studying for a BA in Chinese Studies at the University of Leeds. He has Masters degrees in Asia Pacific Studies (University of Leeds) and Political Science (University of Nottingham) and completed his PhD at the University of Nottingham in 2010, under the supervision of Cees van der Eijk, Will Lowe and Phil Cowley. Dr Sullivan is interested in most aspects of Chinese life, from his specialist research on political behavior and political communications to distinctly amateur interests in Chinese literature, movies, music, and, naturally, food.

In the School of contemporary Chinese Studies, Dr Sullivan is Director of Research. He regularly writes for the international media, including the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Forbes, The National Interest, South China Morning Post, China Daily among others; and is frequently cited in the international media. For more on his research interests, follow on Twitter @jonlsullivan or download articles, papers and reviews at

Expertise Summary

Chinese internet and media; Contentious politics; China's relations with its neighbors; China's expanding global role; Cross-Strait relations; Taiwanese politics and elections; political communications

Teaching Summary

In the current academic year (14/15) Dr Sullivan convenes and teaches the following modules:

T11010/T11103 Introduction to Contemporary China (1st year, 20/10 credits, Autumn semester)

T13311 Media and Communication in a Globalising China (3rd year, 20 credits, Spring)

In addition to broad teaching interests in East Asian politics, international relations and political communications, Dr Sullivan has an active research agenda on how China Studies is taught, with a particular interest in the application of appropriate technologies in the classroom.

Research Summary

Dr Sullivan welcomes inquiries from potential PhD students in all areas of Chinese domestic politics, the internet and media in China, issues surrounding China's expanding global presence,… read more

Selected Publications

Current Research

Dr Sullivan welcomes inquiries from potential PhD students in all areas of Chinese domestic politics, the internet and media in China, issues surrounding China's expanding global presence, contentious politics and popular protest, politics in Taiwan and elections and campaigning in East Asia.

  • SULLIVAN J, 2015. Taiwanese Democracy. In: TIM WRIGHT, ed., Oxford Bibliographies in Chinese Studies (In Press.)
  • SULLIVAN J and CHEN J, 2015. Ethnicities in Sinophone Cyberspace. Asian Ethnicity. 16(3),
  • SULLIVAN, J., 2014. China’s Weibo: Is faster different? New Media & Society. 16(1), 24-37
  • SULLIVAN, J., 2014. Technology, creativity and the media in engineering China’s future. New Media & Society. 16(3), 527-33
  • SULLIVAN, J., 2014. China Scholars and the Media. The China Quarterly. 220, 1111-1122
  • SULLIVAN, J., 2014. Country Focus: China. Political Insight. 5(1), 10-14.
  • SULLIVAN, J., 2014. Democracy in the age of negativity, abundance and hybridity. Taiwan Journal of Democracy.. 10(2), 165-82.
  • SULLIVAN, J., 2013. Electronic resources in the study of elite political behaviour in Taiwan. The China Quarterly. 213, 1-16
  • SAPIR E., SULLIVAN J and VEEN T., 2013. Scale matters: Addressing the limited robustness of findings on negative advertising. Japanese Journal of Political Science. 14(4), 521-541
  • SULLIVAN J, 2013. Taiwan’s 2012 presidential election. Political Studies Review. 11(1), 65-74
  • SULLIVAN J and SAPIR E, 2013. Strategic cross-Strait discourse: Comparing three presidential terms. China Information. 27(1), 11-30
  • RENZ B and SULLIVAN J, 2013. Electronic data in Russian politics research. Europe-Asia Studies. 65(10), 1898-1911
  • RENZ B and SULLIVAN J, 2013. Russia’s tweeting governors: Making a connection in the provinces? East European Politics. 29(2), 135-51
  • FELL, D., SAPIR, E. and SULLIVAN, J., 2013. Taiwanese parties’ candidate selection in the aftermath of the change of ruling parties. Taiwan Journal of Democracy.. 9(2), 55-77
  • SULLIVAN, J. and SAPIR, E.V., 2012. Modeling negative campaign advertising: evidence from Taiwan Asian Journal of Communication. 22(3), 289-303
  • SULLIVAN, J. and SAPIR, E., 2012. Nasty or nice? Explaining positive and negative campaigning in Taiwan. The China Journal. 67, 149-170
  • SULLIVAN J., 2012. A Tale of Two Microblogs in China. Media, Culture & Society. 34(6), 773-83
  • SULLIVAN J, 2012. Teaching Chinese politics: Microblogging and student engagement. Journal of Chinese Political Science. 17(4), 1-16
  • SULLIVAN J and SEILER-HOLMER G, 2012. Comparing newspaper coverage of China in the South Pacific. Asia-Pacific Viewpoint. 53(2), 196-204
  • SULLIVAN, J. and RENZ, B., 2012. Representing China in the South Pacific East Asia. 29(4), 377-390
  • SULLIVAN J, 2012. External engagement in Taiwan studies. Issues and Studies. 48(2), 195-215
  • SULLIVAN J and SAPIR E., 2012. Ma Ying-jeou’s presidential discourse. Journal of Current Chinese Affairs. 41(3), 33-68
  • SULLIVAN J, LI, Y. T and JAMES, P. AND DRURY, A. C., 2011. An Exchange on “Diversionary Dragons, or ‘Talking Tough in Taipei’”. Journal of East Asian Studies. 11(1), 137-52
  • SULLIVAN J, 2011. Trying to make a connection: Bloggers in the Legislative Yuan. American Journal of Chinese Studies. 18(2), 81-96
  • SULLIVAN, J. AND CHEON, S, 2011. Reconnecting representatives in two East Asian democracies. East Asia: An International Quarterly. 28(1), 21-36
  • SULLIVAN J, 2011. Is Taiwan Studies in decline? The China Quarterly. 207, 706-18
  • SULLIVAN, J., 2011. Election campaigning since the martial law era. In: BLUNDELL, D. AND BUCKLEY, M., ed., Taiwan Since Martial Law: Economics, Politics, Society Taipei: National Taiwan University Press. 348-74
  • SULLIVAN J. and SEILER-HOLMER G., 2011. Mapping the Taiwan studies field. Issues and Studies. 47(3), 1-28
  • SULLIVAN, J. and RENZ, B., 2010. Chinese migration: still the major focus of Russian Far East/Chinese North East relations? The Pacific Review. 23(2), 261-285
  • SULLIVAN, J. and LOWE, W., 2010. Chen Shui-bian: On independence The China Quarterly. 203, 619-638
  • SULLIVAN, J., 2010. Legislators' blogs in Taiwan. Parliamentary Affairs. 63(3), 471-85
  • SULLIVAN, J., 2009. Campaign advertising in Taiwanese presidential elections. Journal of Contemporary China. 18(61),
  • SULLIVAN, J. AND VEEN, T., 2009. The Council of Ministers: Shedding light on an opaque institution. Government and Opposition. 44(1), 113-23
  • SULLIVAN, J. and XIE, L., 2009. Environmental activism, social networks and the internet The China Quarterly. 198, 422-432
  • VEEN, T. AND SULLIVAN, J., 2009. News sources and decision-making in the EU Council: A rejoinder. Government and Opposition. 44(4), 471-75
  • SULLIVAN, J., 2009. Defending negativity?: Evidence from presidential campaigns in Taiwan. East Asia. 26(4), 305-20
  • SULLIVAN, J., 2008. Campaign advertising and democracy in Taiwan. The China Quarterly. 196, 900-11
  • SULLIVAN, J. AND SELCK, T., 2007. Political preferences, revealed positions and strategic votes: Explaining decision-making in the EU Council. Journal of European Public Policy. 14(7), 1150-61

School of Contemporary Chinese Studies

Si Yuan Centre
University of Nottingham
Jubilee Campus
Nottingham, NG8 1BB

telephone: +44 (0)115 846 6322
fax: +44 (0)115 846 6324