School of Politics and International Relations

Image of Andreas Fulda

Andreas Fulda

Associate Professor, Faculty of Social Sciences



Dr Fulda is a political scientist and China scholar with a keen interest in the philosophy of science. Over the past twenty years he has developed the four research strands democratization studies, EU-China relations, citizen diplomacy and academic freedom. His applied social and political science research bridges theory and practice and aims to inform British, German and European China policy.

His most recent book The Struggle for Democracy in Mainland China, Taiwan and Hong Kong. Sharp Power and its Discontents (Routledge, 2020) has been widely praised.

"Filled with rich theoretical insights and fascinating on-the-ground stories, this wonderfully-written and absorbing book tells the story of how activists in mainland China, Taiwan, and Hong Kong think and strategize-sometimes opportunistically and at other times with deliberate intent-to advance democracy in their respective societies. The result is a compelling analysis of how and why some efforts have succeeded while others have failed, and the lessons future democracy activists should take away from both." - Elizabeth Economy, C.V. Starr senior fellow and director for Asia studies at the Council on Foreign Relations and a distinguished visiting fellow at Stanford University's Hoover Institution

"Andreas Fulda's book is a powerful longitudinal comparison of three Chinese entities that live under very different political systems, mainland China, Taiwan and Hong Kong, and a convincing advocacy for democratization. Fulda well understands the magnitude of the obstacles that so far have prevented the People's Republic from democratizing: the Chinese Communist Party's Soviet or Leninist culture, the economic privileges accumulated by the Party's Nomenklatura and its inclination to rule by bribery and by fear in order to protect them. Nonetheless, Taiwan and Hong Kong's own trajectories and well as the maturation of mainland China's democratic movement over the years have demonstrated that future political change is possible in the People's Republic as well." - Jean-Pierre Cabestan, Professor of Political Science, Hong Kong Baptist University

"This is an inspiring and timely book. Andreas Fulda makes a crucial point which cannot be reiterated enough: as researchers, we must give legitimacy to all potential outcomes for China's future. This process starts with acknowledging that the Chinese Communist Party's power is not inevitable. Research on Chinese politics often operates on the assumptions that the CCP will organically change itself and that democracy advocates are somehow not 'normal' people and will not be effective. Fulda suggests otherwise. By applying theories of and for political change to case studies in China, Hong Kong and Taiwan, he offers an innovative way for filling this major gap in existing literature. Fulda sets a standard that breaks the confines of existing analytical approaches. It is a must-read contribution." - Samantha Hoffman, Resident Fellow at the Australian Strategic Policy Institute

"In this fresh and courageous book, Fulda pulls at the roots of his subject - democracy in China, Hong Kong and Taiwan - like a gardener tackling a by-now gnarly field, and finds hope, even a plan of action: Fill the gap between theory and practice by learning from Chinese democracy practitioners, plant into democracy theory ideas of change drawn from development studies, cultivate a humanizing pedagogy that rejects domination by propaganda and power, and move away from the internalized compliance with Communist Party discourse that is by now widespread in western academia. An inspiring read packed with ideas." - Didi Kirsten Tatlow is a former MERICS Visiting Academic Fellow. She reported from China for her hometown newspaper, the South China Morning Post of Hong Kong, the International Herald Tribune (now the global edition of The New York Times,) and The New York Times, from 2003 to 2017

Dr Fulda's edited book Civil Society Contributions to Policy Innovation in the PR China (Palgrave Macmillan, 2015) has been praised by both leading academics and prominent foundation representatives.

"Emerging out of the EU-China Civil Society Dialogue Programme this book brings together several empirical studies of how civil society organizations contribute to policy change and innovation. The case studies of environmental health and disability groups are particularly illuminating. A fine collection of studies that are an essential read for students of social change in China." - Professor Jude Howell, The London School of Economics

"Civil Society Contributions to Policy Innovations in the PR China is the one and only compass any academic or practitioner will need in order to navigate the sometimes treacherous waters of Chinese civil society with skill and confidence. Dr Andreas Fulda's nuanced and culturally sensitive perspective on Chinese civil society provides an invaluable account of a complex and rapidly changing field." - Dr Flora Sapio

"This book explores the ways in which civil society actors contribute to policy innovation in China. Sector-specific chapters are interspersed with notes from the field adding important nuance. New analyses of the emergence of government procurement of social services and social enterprise contribute to an overall understanding of how civil society is evolving in the Chinese context." - Elizabeth D. Knup, Representative/China, The Ford Foundation

"This book is very comprehensive and authoritative for the international community to understand Chinese NGO's engagements and contributions to policy innovation. The documented cases demonstrate Chinese NGOs have been making impacts on various important policies, from environmental protection to labour. However, there are many crucial obstacles for Chinese NGO to overcome if they want to make more influential and structural roles on policy changes." - Dr Howard Hung to Liu, OXFAM Hong Kong

Dr Fulda introduced key findings from his edited book to a global audience during a podcast on the future of China's civil society with Professor Elizabeth Economy (C. V. Starr Senior Fellow and Director for Asia studies at the Council on Foreign Relations). This podcast was accessed 1,619 times.

In his published PhD thesis (Springer, 2009) he critiqued Germany's foreign and development policy towards China and examined new approaches for civil society assistance.

In her book review Professor Bettina Gransow (Free University Berlin) praised Dr Fulda's monograph for "not only being provocative but also inspiring."

The German Stiftung Asienhaus remarked that "this book is not only a good read for anyone interested in state- and civil society-led German development cooperation, but also for all those who who deal with the possibilities and limitations of external actors engaging with civil society actors in China."

Since 2002 he has extensively published in peer-reviewed academic journals ranging from Diplomacy & Statecraft, PS: Political Science & Politics, International Journal of Human Rights, Journal of Church and State, Journal of Contemporary China, Journal of Current Chinese Affairs, China: An International Journal, Journal of the British Association for Chinese Studies, Critical Asian Studies, International Quarterly for Asian Studies, to ASIEN.

Dr Fulda is member of various academic networks and learned societies, e.g. the Academic Freedom and Internationalisation Working Group (AFIWG), the Citizen Diplomacy Research Group (CDRG), British Association for Chinese Studies (BACS), European Association of Taiwan Studies (EATS), Hong Kong Studies Association (HKSA), and Deutsche Gesellschaft fuer Asienkunde (DGA). He was an elected BACS Council member between 2017 and 2020.

Dr Fulda frequently comments on current Chinese affairs.

In 2020 he had 120 media engagements, which included TV and radio appearances, quotes in print media, as well as opinion-editorials and blog posts.

Between 2015 and 2021 he had more than fifty TV and radio appearances on BBC, Sky News, ARD, WDR, France 24, Euronews, Al Jazeera, StratNewsGlobal, IPP TV, Schweizer Radio und Fernsehen, Deutschlandfunk, Bremen 2, Hessischer Rundfunk, Bayerischer Rundfunk, Bloomberg Radio and LBC respectively. Particularly noteworthy was his invitation to comment on Hong Kong's popular uprising on BBC News on 18 November 2019 as well as on BBC Radio 4 World at One on 22 July 2019. Many of his interviews can be accessed via Vimeo.

Dr Fulda also appeared on Al Jazeera's Head to Head TV show, entitled 'What is the human cost to China's economic miracle?', as part of a panel of experts on the topic including Victor Gao (Vice President of the Centre for China and Globalisation) and Professor Steve Tsang (Director of the China Institute, University of London) responding to the debate taking place between host Mehdi Hasan and key speaker Charles Liu (Senior Fellow at Peking University and informal adviser to the Chinese government). Filmed at the Oxford Union, the debate was broadcast to a potential audience of forty million households on Friday 15 March 2019 at 8pm GMT. It can be still be viewed online and has thus far amassed more than three million views on YouTube alone.

Dr Fulda is frequently quoted in China-related reports by global news outlets ranging from the Financial Times, Washington Post, Bloomberg, Politico, The Hill, The Diplomat, National Review, Breitbart, yahoo! news, The Globe and Mail, The Times, The Guardian, The Independent, Business Insider, Express, Daily Mail, Spiked, Radio Free Asia, Voice of America, The Korea Times, Japan Times, Euronews, Deutsche Welle, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, Handelsblatt, Die Welt, Der Spiegel, Der Tagesspiegel, n-tv, Neue Zürcher Zeitung, Finanz und Wirtschaft, oe24, Respons, Il Foglio, Formiche, Kurir, Weekendavisen, Reformatorisch Dagblad, El Confidencial, El Mercurio, La Razon, Público, Merdeka, Republic World, Republika, Bisnis, Báo điện tử Tổ Quốc, Một Thế Giới, Apple Daily, RFI, The News Lens, Jingji Ribao, EToday, Radio Taiwan International to 沃草.

He has published letters in The Times on 3 July 2020, 13 October 2020 and 17 November 2021. Dr Fulda's opinion-editorials have appeared in The New Statesman, The Spectator, The Guardian, The Independent, Foreign Policy, The National Interest, The Conversation, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, WirtschaftsWoche, Forschung & Lehre, University World News, Friesch Dagblad, Apple Daily, South China Morning Post, Hong Kong Free Press, CommonWealth, and yes, a couple of years ago even in China Daily. A particularly noticeable op-ed on the topic 'Beijing Is Weaponizing Nationalism Against Hong Kongers' was published by Foreign Policy on 29 July 2019.

Dr Fulda is also active on Twitter (@AMFChina). He has more than 38,900 followers. The engagement rate with his tweets is 4%, which speaks to his ability to engage with diverse online audiences. Since January 2019 his tweets have generated more than eighty-one million impressions. Particularly noteworthy threads can be accessed via

Dr Fulda has also regularly published in online publications. They include the Royal United Services Institute (RUSI) Commentary; the Centre for Geopolitics at the University of Cambridge; East Asia Forum; University of Nottingham's Asia Dialogue; 9DashLine; The Conversation; The National Interest; Hong Kong Free Press; IP Journal of the German Council on Foreign Relations (DGAP); Aus Politik und Zeitgeschichte (APuZ), the online magazine of the German Federal Agency for Civic Education (BPB); LibMod, the online journal of the Center for Liberal Moder­nity; and the Italian Institute for International Political Studies (IPSI) Online. He also has a global digital footprint in the form of numerous contributions to online debates facilitated by the US-based think tanks ChinaFile, an online magazine published by the Center on U.S.-China Relations at Asia Society, dedicated to promoting an informed, nuanced, and vibrant public conversation about China, in the U.S. and around the world.

Dr Fulda's expertise is in high demand across government and industry.

In addition to his advocacy for liberalization and democratization in mainland China Dr Fulda has exercised intellectual leadership by advocating for a more assertive German and European China policy.

In his widely noted German-language op-ed "The case for a paradigm shift in German China policy" for China.Table (6 April 2021) Dr Fulda responded to another op-ed in China.Table by his former PhD supervisor Professor Eberhard Sandschneider. Sandschneider had critiqued what he called "China bashing" in the previous week (31 March 2021). China.Table is a professional briefing for decision makers and experts in business and academia, politics, administration, NGOs and associations. With its 3,500 subscribers and China.Table reaches German elites with a professional interest in current Chinese affairs. In his op-ed Dr Fulda argued that Sandschneider overlooks the totalitarian turn in China under Xi Jinping. His demands for dialogue and cooperation may sound plausible. However under the conditions of "Document No. 9" there can be no open-ended intercultural dialogue with China. The English-language translation of Dr Fulda's op-ed generated more than 270,000 impressions on Twitter. It marks a turning point in an increasingly public and lively discussion about new goals and modalities of German China policy. It is widely anticipated that there will be a foreign policy shift vis-a-vis China following the next general election on 26 September 2021. Dr Fulda has also made the case for a whole-of-government task force which deals with autocratic regimes.

Dr Fulda also regularly attends high-profile conferences and meetings in the UK and mainland Europe. A specific example of his thought leadership is the keynote speech on the state of China's civil society at the 26 January 2017 Paris conference organised by the Institut Francais Des Relations Internationales (IFRI) on 'China's Stability at Risk: Economic, Social and Environmental Challenges'.

Dr Fulda is frequently asked to provide consultancy services (e.g. PMCG International, EuroPlus Consulting & Management, EVOLUXER S.L. International Consulting, AETS Consultants, CEPA 2, AGRER, B&S Europe, and British Council). As the PI for five projects and as commissioned researcher he has raised more than one million pounds from international funders, including the European Commission (2011-14), British Foreign and Commonwealth Office (2011-12), Legatum Foundation (2014-17) and Ford Foundation (2017-19). Commissioned research for Geneva Global informed his article on the contested role of foundations in China in the open-access journal JBACS (2017).

Dr Fulda provides strategic policy advice to decision makers.

Dr Fulda has shared his expertise in the form of oral and written testimonies to the UK Cabinet Office, Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office, Foreign Affairs Committee, the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Hong Kong as well as the Special Forces Club.

He has also engaged with senior politicians, civil servants and policy makers in Germany and Canada.

In May 2022 Dr Fulda briefed Jody Thomas, national security advisor to the prime minister of Canada Justin Trudeau at the High Commission of Canada in the UK.

In 2022 he participated in two events hosted by the Royal Military College of Canada, speaking about the Chinese Communist Party's hybrid interference in liberal democracies.

Throughout 2021 and 2022 Dr Fulda has repeatedly advised the German Rectors' Conference on the issue of academic freedom.

In January 2021 he was invited by the UK Cabinet Office and Demos to join a new policy-focused Collective Intelligence Network, or COIN.

In December 2020 Dr Fulda joined the University of Nottingham's University Executive Board's (UEB) Internationalisation: Security Related Issues Task and Finish Group to consider the recently published Universities UK report 'Internationalisation: Security Related Issues'. Together with his colleagues he will help consider the UUK report, determine the steps to be taken in relation to each of the recommendations it contains, and assist the process of staff consultation as appropriate.

In October 2020 hejoined the Inter-Parliamentary Alliance on China (IPAC) as Foreign Affairs Advisor.

On 14 July 2020 Dr Fulda provided testimony to the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Hong Kong. He was invited to share his views of the Chinese Communist Party's infringement of academic freedoms in the West.

In June 2020 he had an in-depth discussion about Germany's China policy with Gyde Jensen MdB, Chair of the Committee for Human Rights and Humanitarian Aid in the German Bundestag.

In January 2020 Dr Fulda shared his insights into the state of affairs in mainland China, Taiwan and Hong Kong with Vice-Chancellor and President of the University of Nottingham Professor Shearer West.

In October 2019 he joined a roundtable at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) hosted by Mr Nic Hailey, Head of the Hong Kong Task Force where he provided specific policy advice on UK-China relations. Also in October Sir Jeremy Greenstock, former UK Representative on the Security Council and Chairman of Gatehouse Advisory Partners invited Dr Fulda to brief him and his associates for one hour on the situation in Hong Kong.

In August 2019 UK Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman MP Tom Tugendhat invited him to provide policy advice for the British government on how to respond to the deteriorating situation in Hong Kong.

Dr Fulda has provided foreign policy advice for more than seventeen years. During his PhD research (2003-07) he organised three roundtable meetings between Chinese civil society practitioners and German politicians on behalf of the German Embassy in Beijing. He co-authored a China Country Report on the status of participatory development commissioned by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) in 2006. He also reported key findings from his research to the Head of the German parliamentary Committee on Economic Cooperation and Development (AWZ). Conclusions from his PhD thesis directly informed a parliamentary inquiry and a parliamentary motion of the German Liberal Democratic Party (FDP) in 2008.

He reflected on his dual role as foreign policy analyst and social development practitioner in research articles for International Quarterly for Asian Studies (2009) and Political Science & Politics (2011).

Drawing on his experiential learning Dr Fulda has also conducted pioneering research on the principles and practices of citizen diplomacy, as evident from his widely-read open-access article 'The Emergence of Citizen Diplomacy in European Union-China Relations: Principles, Pillars, Pioneers, Paradoxes', which was published in the leading journal Diplomacy & Statecraft in Spring 2019. Since its publication on 27 February 2019 this research article has been accessed 3,678 times. The University of Southern California (USC) Center for Public Diplomacy featured his research article as a key case study on EU-China relations.

Dr Fulda has repeatedly exercised global citizenship.

Open letter

Following the outbreak of Covid-19 Dr Fulda took a public stand against a highly coordinated disinformation campaign of the Chinese Communist Party.

He was the initiator and chief editor of the open letter "The Communist Party's rule by fear endangers Chinese citizens-and the world". This open letter was published on 14 April 2020 and has been signed by more than 200 public figures, security policy analysts, and China specialists. The group of international signatories includes concerned political leaders as well as some of the world's leading authorities on Chinese politics, law, and modern history. They describe the Communist Party government's cover up of COVID-19 as "China's Chernobyl moment".

Among the noticeable public figures who have signed the open letter are Damian Collins MP (House of Commons, UK), Lord Andrew Adonis (House of Lords, UK), Lord Alton of Liverpool (House of Lords, UK), Rt Hon Norman Baker (fmr UK Home Affairs minister), Hon. Andrew Scheer (Member of Parliament for the riding of Regina-Qu'Appelle, Leader of the Conservative Party of Canada and Leader of the Official Opposition, Canada), Hon. Peter MacKay (fmr Minister for Foreign Affairs, National Defence, Justice and Attorney General, Canada), The Hon. Erin O'Toole (MP for Durham, fmr Minister of Veterans Affairs, Canada), James Bezan MP (House of Commons of Canada, Selkirk-Interlake-Eastman, Shadow Minister for National Defence, Canada), Irwin Cotler (fmr Minister of Justice, Canada), Giulio Terzi di Sant'Agata (fmr Foreign Minister, Italy), as well as numerous members of the European, Australian, Czech, Estonian, and Lithuanian parliament.

Various senior security analysts and China specialists have signed the letter, too: Anne-Marie Brady (Global Fellow, Kissinger Institute on China and the US, Wilson Center, USA; Professor in Political Science and International Relations, University Canterbury, NZ), Geremie R. Barmé (Historian, Professor Emeritus, The Australian National University), Aaron L. Friedberg (Professor, Princeton University), Donald Clarke (Professor of Law, George Washington University), William A. Callahan (Professor of International Relations, LSE), Michael B. Yahuda (Professor Emeritus, LSE; Visiting Scholar, George Washington University), Jean-Pierre Cabestan (Professor, Hong Kong Baptist University), Jean-Philippe Béja (Professor Emeritus, CERI-Sciences-Po Paris, CNRS, France), and Jerome A. Cohen (Founding Director, US-Asia Law Institute, New York University), to name a few.

The open letter was hosted by three leading security policy think-tanks, the Ottawa-based Macdonald Laurier Institute, the London-based Henry Jackson Society and the Prague-based European Values Center for Security Policy.

Dr Fulda has spoken about the Chinese Communist Party's response to the outbreak of Covid-19 within its borders, why the CCP acted the way it did, what that meant for Chinese citizens and for the world, and how to understand their posture now in an in-depth interview with the Octavian Report, an online platform for the world's leading experts to share their unbiased insights.

Joint statement

Dr Fulda also wrote draft zero of the joint statement "The Hong Kong National Security Law is an assault on academic freedom", which was published on 12 October 2020 in response to the passing of the so-called Hong Kong National Security Law.

The group of international signatories includes some of the world's leading authorities on Chinese politics, law, and modern history. The 130 signatories represent 71 academic institutions across 16 countries. Their joint statement notes that the universal jurisdiction claimed by Article 38 of the National Security La raises the unsettling prospect of students traveling through Hong Kong and China facing the possibility of being handed lengthy prison sentences on the basis of academic work deemed to be 'subversive' by Chinese authorities.

The signatories cite reports that China related modules are being dropped and writings 'self censored' by students out of fear of future reprisals. Addressing US Ivy League Schools, the Russell Group of 24 leading British universities, as well as their counterparts in Europe, Australia and New Zealand, the signatories demand an unequivocal condemnation of the National Security Law, or risk supporting it implicitly.

In a plea to international lawmakers, the signatories called for legislation to be updated to create a university environment fit for the full exercise of academic freedom, and for governments to raise these concerns with their Chinese counterparts.

The joint statement marks a decisive pushback of academics who feel threatened by the overreach of China's censorship regime, and represents a broader concern at the increasing threat to academic freedom from the Chinese Communist Party.

Selected Publications

Ph.D. supervision

I am interested in supervising students who want to work in the following areas:

  • Democratic security;
  • Hybrid interference by autocratic regimes;
  • Sino-German relations;
  • Academic freedom;
  • Citizen diplomacy.

Supervision as first supervisor of successfully completed Ph.D. theses:

Hoffman, Samantha R. (2017), Programming China: the Communist Party's autonomic approach to managing state security. PhD thesis, University of Nottingham.

Thorley, Martin (2021), Fool's Gold?: Sino-British Elites and the 'Golden Era' of Relations, PhD thesis, University of Nottingham.

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