Hongyi  Lai Author of Evaluating Organization Development

Hongyi Lai

Associate Professor
School of Contemporary Chinese Studies, University of Nottingham

He studied at Beijing University during 1983-89, politically the most liberal and dramatic period in China’s reform era. After the Tiananmen Movement in 1989 he studied at the US, obtaining his PhD at UCLA. Afterwards, he first worked at a leading think tank at National University of Singapore, and then joined the School of Contemporary Chinese Studies at University of Nottingham, the largest China studies programme in the UK. He researches on China’s governance and political economy.


Studying at Beijing University during 1983-89 Hongyi Lai witnessed politically the most open and dramatic period in the reform era in China.  After experiencing the Tiananmen Movement in 1989 he went to study at the US, eventually obtaining his MA and PhD in political science at UCLA.  Afterwards, he worked for multiple years at a leading think tank affiliated with National University of Singapore, which is known in Asia and especially in China for its academic and policy research on contemporary China.  He became a senior research fellow there.  In 2007 he joined the newly founded School of Contemporary Chinese Studies (SCCS) at University of Nottingham, UK.  The SCCS is arguably the only school at a university in the world that is solely dedicated to contemporary China.  It is the largest programme of China studies in terms of student enrolment in the UK.   His articles were published in academic journals such as Third World Quarterly, China Quarterly, Modern China, The China Journal, Journal of Contemporary China, Eurasian Geography and Economy, and Asia-Pacific Business Review.  His major books include China’s Soft Power and International Relations (Routledge, 2012), The Domestic Sources of China’s Foreign Policy (Routledge, 2010), Asian Energy Security (Palgrave Macmillan, 2009), Reform and the Non-state Economy in China (Palgrave Macmillan, 2006), and China into the Hu-Wen Era (World Scientific, 2006).

Areas of Research / Professional Expertise

    His research covers China’s governance and China’s domestic and external political economy.  The topics regarding China he has published on include economic reform strategy, central-local relations, regional development, protests, linkage between domestic and foreign policies, foreign policy making, oil diplomacy, soft power, cultural diplomacy, and internationalisation of China’s business.  

    His latest work is his book entitled China's Governance Model: Flexibility and Durability of Pragmatic Authoritarianism (Routledge, 2016).  Below is an outline of this book.  As China is posed to become the largest economy in the world in the coming decade the direction in which the Chinese state is heading is a hugely important issue.  This is especially so since the state has masterminded economic reform and has continued to shape the economic trajectory and political course of a rising China.   China scholars and observers, however, disagree in their diagnoses and predictions about the fate of the Party-state in China.  Some have sounded apocalyptical warnings about the collapse or crackup of the Party-state (notably in 2001 and 2015, respectively).  Some others were optimistic about China’s democratization.  Others are talking about the global spread of the so-called China model.

    In this book, the author built on his decades-long research and offers one of the most penetrating analyses of the state, nature and possible future of the Party-state in China.  He addresses the following “billion-dollars questions”—What kind of political regime is emerging in China? How has the Party-state evolved in the previous decade? Is it heading toward democratization as some have hoped, or toward immediate meltdown has other have warned? Should we expect political upheavals in China in the coming decades? Can the Party-state break the 73-year-curse on single-Party regimes the former Soviet Union fell prey to?

    The author draws on his insights in comparative politics, political economy, China studies, institutional analyses, and importantly, China’s political history.  He carefully paints a broad picture of the Party-state and of the Chinese political model and suggests sensible scenarios of their future.  He offers a rare glimpse at the changes of the institutions most critical to the survival of the Party-state. He analyses the possible life span of the Party-state on the basis of the life span of unified political regimes in China’s past.  He also discusses the implications of Xi Jinping’s current policies especially his political conservatism and anti-corruption drive for the Party-state.  People who are interested in the fate of the upcoming superpower will benefit greatly from reading this well-researched and thought-provoking book.



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 Featured Title - China's Governance Model – Hongyi Lai - 1st Edition book cover


The New York Times

A Reticent China Undercuts Its Milder New Image

Published: Nov 10, 2015 by The New York Times
Authors: Joseph Kahn

China's restrictions on information about a highly infectious respiratory illness has undermined five years of diplomacy intended to alter its image as a prickly regional power and to improve relations with neighboring countries, Asian politicians and analysts say.

Reuters World News

China leaders stage show of unity after expelling Bo

Published: Nov 10, 2015 by Reuters World News
Authors: Chris Buckley

China's leaders put on a show of unity on Saturday after their damning accusations against disgraced politician Bo Xilai, whose expulsion from the Communist Party drew an outcry from leftist supporters in a sign of the rifts his prosecution could inflame.



Hongyi Lai quoted on Xi's visit to the UK in 2015 in South China Morning Post

By: Hongyi Lai
Subjects: Area Studies, Asian Studies, Business, Management and Accounting

Hongyi Lai, China expert, was recently mentioned in an article in the South China Morning Post. The article, entitled "Britain's new 'special relationship' with China is built on pragmatism" quotes Lai saying, "Both countries have enjoyed a special period of close bilateral relations and these especially close ties are largely based on the economic imperatives of both nations."
Cary Huang wrote this article about relations between Great Britain and China. It begins,

"Since the second world war, British foreign policy has been built on its so-called special relationship with the United States, which emerged from that conflict as the most powerful nation.

This week, London showed it was attempting to build another special bond – with China – the world’s fast-rising power that is on its way to challenging American dominance in global affairs."

To read more, please visit the South China Morning Post.