School of Politics and International Relations

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Jonathan Sullivan

Associate Professor, Faculty of Social Sciences



Dr Jonathan Sullivan is a China specialist and political scientist. He has been studying China, and learning and using Chinese, for 25 years. He attained a First with Distinction in Spoken Chinese for his BA in Modern Chinese Studies at the University of Leeds and has Masters degrees in Asia Pacific Studies (University of Leeds) and Political Science (University of Nottingham). He completed his PhD at the University of Nottingham in 2010 under the supervision of Profs Cees van der Eijk, Will Lowe and Phil Cowley. Dr Sullivan is interested in all aspects of China and Chinese life, from his specialist research on political behavior, political communications, foreign and cross-Strait relations to distinctly amateur interests in Chinese literature, movies, music, and, naturally, food.

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

Convenor: International Politics of the Asia-Pacific

Convenor: The politics of celebrity, sex and alternative lifestyles in China

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, ZHAO, Y, CHADWICK, S and GOW, M, 2021. Chinese fans’ engagement with football: Transnationalism, authenticity and identity Journal of Global Sport Management.
  • SULLIVAN, J and LEE, D, 2021. Situating Tsai Ing-wen’s first term: Three decades of presidential discourse in Taiwan. In: SCUBERT, S and LEE, C, eds., Navigating Stormy Waters: Taiwan during the first Tsai Ing-wen administration 16-46
  • COCKAYNE, D, CHADWICK, S and SULLIVAN, J, 2021. Chinese football: From a state-led past to a digital future Journal of Global Sport Management.
  • SULLIVAN, J, 2021. China, Hong Kong and Taiwan. In: LEWIS, D and SLATER, W, eds., The Annual Register 262.
  • SULLIVAN, J, JEU, S and WANG, W, 2021. Rising Cyber China Turkish Policy Quarterly.
  • HESKETH, C and SULLIVAN, J, 2020. The production of leisure: understanding the social function of football development in China Globalizations. 17(6), 1061-1079
  • SULLIVAN, J, CHAWICK, S and GOW, M, 2019. China’s Football Dream: Sport, Citizenship, Symbolic Power and Civic Spaces. Journal of Sport & Social Issues. 43(6), 493-514
  • SULLIVAN, J and ZHAO, Y, 2019. Rappers as Knights-Errant: Classic Allusions in the Mainstreaming of Chinese Rap Popular Music & Society. 44(3), 274-291
  • SULLIVAN, J, 2019. The co-evolution of media and politics in Taiwan: Implications for political communications International Journal of Taiwan Studies. 2(1), 85-110
  • SULLIVAN, J. and KEHOE, S., 2018. “Truth, good and beauty:”: The politics of celebrity in China. The China Quarterly. 236, 241-256
  • SULLIVAN, J and LEE, D, 2018. Soft Power Runs Into Popular Geopolitics: Western Media Frames Democratic Taiwan International Journal of Taiwan Studies. 1(2), 273-300
  • SULLIVAN, J. and CHENG, J., 2018. Contextualizing Chinese migration to Africa Journal of Asian and African Studies. 53(8), 1173 –1187
  • SULLIVAN, J. and LEE, C. Y., eds., 2018. A New Era in Democratic Taiwan:: Trajectories and Turning Points in Politics and Cross-Strait Relations. Routledge.
  • SULLIVAN, J. and SMYTH, J., 2018. The KMT’s China policy: Gains and failures.. In: BECKERSHOFF, A. and SCHUBERT, G., eds., Assessing the Presidency of Ma Ying-jiu in Taiwan:: Hopeful Beginning, Hopeless End? Routledge.
  • SULLIVAN, J., RAWNSLEY, M., CHIEN, F. and SMYTH, J., 2018. The Media in democratic Taiwan. In: SULLIVAN, J. and LEE, C. Y., eds., A New Democratic Era in Taiwan Routledge.
  • CHADWICK, S and SULLIVAN, J, 2018. Football in China. In: Handbook of Football Business and Management Routledge.
  • RICH, T. and SULLIVAN, J., 2016. Elections and the Electoral System. In: Handbook of Modern Taiwan Politics and Society Routledge.
  • RAWNSLEY, M. Y. and SULLIVAN, J., 2016. Il sistema dei media a Taiwan Orizzonte Cina. 7(1),
  • SULLIVAN, J. and SMYTH, J, 2016. Taiwan’s 2016 presidential and legislative elections Journal of the British Association of Chinese Studies. 6, 81-112
  • RAWNSLEY, M. Y., SMYTH, J and SULLIVAN, J., 2016. Taiwanese media reform Journal of the British Association of Chinese Studies. 6, 66-80
  • SULLIVAN J, 2016. China Scholars and Twitter The China Quarterly. 229, 218-228
  • SULLIVAN J, 2015. Taiwanese Democracy. In: TIM WRIGHT, ed., Oxford Bibliographies in Chinese Studies
  • 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
  • HORESH, N, KIM, H, MAUCH, P and SULLIVAN, J, 2014. Is my rival’s rival a friend? Popular third-party perceptions of territorial disputes in East Asia. Copenhagen Journal of Asian Studies. 31(1), 1-25.
  • 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.
  • 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., 2013. Electronic resources in the study of elite political behaviour in Taiwan. The China Quarterly. 213, 1-16
  • SULLIVAN J, 2012. Teaching Chinese politics: Microblogging and student engagement. Journal of Chinese Political Science. 17(4), 1-16
  • 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. and RENZ, B., 2012. Representing China in the South Pacific East Asia. 29(4), 377-390
  • 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., 2012. A Tale of Two Microblogs in China. Media, Culture & Society. 34(6), 773-83
  • SULLIVAN, J. and SAPIR, E., 2012. Nasty or nice? Explaining positive and negative campaigning in Taiwan. The China Journal. 67, 149-170
  • 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 SEILER-HOLMER G., 2011. Mapping the Taiwan studies field. Issues and Studies. 47(3), 1-28
  • 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, 2011. Is Taiwan Studies in decline? The China Quarterly. 207, 706-18
  • 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. Trying to make a connection: Bloggers in the Legislative Yuan. American Journal of Chinese Studies. 18(2), 81-96
  • 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., 2010. Legislators' blogs in Taiwan. Parliamentary Affairs. 63(3), 471-85
  • SULLIVAN, J. and LOWE, W., 2010. Chen Shui-bian: On independence The China Quarterly. 203, 619-638
  • 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., 2009. Defending negativity?: Evidence from presidential campaigns in Taiwan. East Asia. 26(4), 305-20
  • 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. and XIE, L., 2009. Environmental activism, social networks and the internet The China Quarterly. 198, 422-432
  • 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., 2009. Campaign advertising in Taiwanese presidential elections. Journal of Contemporary China. 18(61),
  • 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

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