Associate Professor
(On Leave 2020-21)

On leave AY 2020-2021
(Wang Gungwu Visiting Fellow at ISEAS, Singapore)

Xiaojun (pronounced “shee·ow ji·win”) received his Ph.D. in Political Science from Stanford University and joined the department in 2013. He is currently Associate Professor of Political Science at UBC and non-resident scholar at the 21st Century China Centre at UC San Diego School of Global Policy and Strategy. He has also held visiting positions at Harvard University’s Fairbank Center for Chinese Studies (2014-2015), Fudan Development Institute (2016), and University of Hawaii’s East-West Center (2018).

His previous and ongoing research on international and comparative political economy can be broadly divided into three research programs that investigate (1) the impact of domestic politics on the process and content of foreign economic and security policies, (2) the impact of global supply chains on trade and investment, and (3) the political economy of trade liberalization in developing and post-communist countries. In all of these research programs, he uses China as the primary case of inquiry and employs a variety of methods, including interviews, archival research, survey experiment, and large-N analysis.

He is the coauthor of How China Sees the World: Insights from China’s International Relations Scholars (Palgrave 2019) and Fragmenting Globalization: The Politics of Preferential Trade Liberalization in China and the United States (University of Michigan Press, 2021). His articles have appeared in Journal of Politics, International Studies Quarterly, International Affairs, Canadian Journal of Political ScienceChinese Journal of International PoliticsForeign Policy Analysis, International Relations of the Asia-PacificJournal of Contemporary China, among others. His research has received grants and awards from such organizations as the Social Science and Humanities Research Council of Canada, the National Science Foundation of the United States, the American Political Science Association, the International Studies Association, the Association of Chinese Political Studies, and the Chiang Ching-Kuo Foundation.

At UBC, he offers undergraduate and graduate courses in international political economy, Chinese politics and Development, China in the World, and Quantitative Methods. For more information on his published and ongoing research, please visit his personal website.


Recent Research




Fragmenting Globalization

The Politics of Preferential Trade Liberalization in China and the United States
University of Michigan Press, March 2021


The rapid increase in intermediate trade through global value chain (GVC) linkages means that foreign value added constitutes an increasingly larger share of final goods in many countries and sectors. This book asks: What are the implications of growing GVC linkages for individual firms in today’s global trading system, which is increasingly fragmented by the rise of preferential trade agreements (PTAs)? Drawing on extensive fieldwork, firm-level surveys, and case studies of the patterns of corporate support for regional trade liberalization in both China and the United States, as well as analyses of the pattern of PTA formation among WTO members, this book documents how the fragmentation of global production, trade, and investment activities is reshaping business preferences and political strategies and, as a result, shifting the political economy of trade liberalization away from the traditional divide between export-oriented and import-competing industries.




How China Sees the World

Insights From China’s International Relations Scholars

Palgrave Macmillan, December 2019

Order through Amazon.

This book intends to make sense of how Chinese leaders perceive China’s rise in the world through the eyes of C

hina’s international relations (IR) scholars. Drawing on a unique, four-year opinion survey of these scholars carried out at the annual conference of the Chinese Community of Political Science and International Studies (CCPSIS) in Beijing from 2014–2017, the authors examine Chinese IR scholars’ perceptions and their changes over time of key issues related to China’s power, its relationship with the United States and other major countries, and China’s position in the international system. Furthermore, the authors complement the surveys with a textual analysis of the academic publications in China’s top five IR journals. By comparing and contrasting the opinion surveys and textual analyses, this book sheds new light on how Chinese IR scholars view the world as well as how they might influence China’s foreign policy.

  • First book that systematically examines Chinese scholars’ perceptions of international relations
  • Includes findings from a four-year survey research study (2014-2017) in Beijing, designed as a semi-longitudinal study in order to gauge the changing attitudes and perceptions of Chinese scholars
  • Part of a multi-year project, “Understanding China’s Rise through the Eyes of Chinese IR Scholars,” funded by the MacArthur Foundation


“This short, well-crafted volume takes a significant step forward in providing a systematic review of how Chinese international affairs specialists assess contemporary issues in Chinese foreign relations and particularly Chinese relations with the United States.” — Robert Sutter, Pacific Affairs

Brexit identities and British public opinion on China 

Wilfred M. Chow, Enze Han, Xiaojun Li

International Affairs, Volume 95, Issue 6, November 2019, Pages 1369–1387.
Read the paper here (Open Access):


Some of my other recent research profiled by the UBC Department of Political Science

PhD Students:

  1. Nathan Peng, PhD Dissertation Committee Member, 2020-present.
  2. Stephano Burzo, PhD co-supervisor, 2018-present.
  3. Yoel Kornreich, PhD Dissertation Committee Member, 2015-2018.
  4. Linting Zhang, PhD Dissertation Committee Member, 2015-2018.

MA students:

  1. Charles Bain, MA 2017, Thesis Examiner.
    • Thesis: “The Greening of Self-Interest: Why is China Standing Firm on its Climate Commitments Despite US Regression?”
  2. Miaofeng Zhang, MA 2016, Thesis Examiner.
    • Thesis: “To Reform or Not to Reform: China’s Hukou Reform at the Local Level”
  3. Wan-Ting Lu, MA 2016, Thesis Examiner.
    • Thesis: “Financial Reforms, Divided Interests, and Tipping Point Policy-Making: Renminbi Internationalization as a New Catalyst for Structural Reforms in China”


  1. Fragmenting Globalization: The Politics of Preferential Trade Liberalization in China and the United States (with Ka Zeng), University of Michigan Press (Michigan Studies in International Political Economy), forthcoming in Spring 2021.
    -Pre-order from University of Michigan Press.
  2. How China Sees the World (with Kai He and Huiyun Feng), Palgrave Macmillam, December 2019.
    – Book review: Pacific Affairs (by Robert Sutter), Journal of Chinese Political Science (by Gregory Moore)
    – Order through Palgrave or Amazon.

Peer-Reviewed Articles

(* denotes graduate student co-authors)

  1. “Durability of China’s Lawmaking Process under Xi Jinping: A Tale of Two Foreign Investment Laws”, forthcoming, Issues & Studies – A Social Science Quarterly on China, Taiwan, and East Asian Affairs.
  2. “What Drives Consumer Activism during Trade Disputes? Experimental Evidence from Canada” (with Adam Liu), forthcoming, International Journal.
  3. “Public Opinion, International Reputation, and Audience Costs in an Authoritarian Regime” (with Dingding Chen), Conflict Management and Peace Science, forthcoming. Open Access Link:
  4. “Anticipating Exclusion: Global Supply Chains and Chinese Business Responses to the Trans-Pacific Partnership” (with Robert Gulotty), Business and Politics (2020), Volume 22, Issue 2, pp. 253–278.  [download]
  5. “Historical Ownership and Territorial Disputes” (with Songying Fang), Journal of Politics (2020), Volume 82, Issue 1, pp. 345–360. Open Access Link:
  6. “Brexit Identities and British Public Opinion on China” (with Wilfred Chow and Enze Han), International Affairs (2019), Volume 95, Issue 6, pp. 1369–1387. Open Access Link:
    – Blog: The Asia Dialogue
  7. “Geopolitics, Nationalism, and Foreign Direct Investment: Perceptions of the China Threat and American Public Attitudes toward Chinese FDI” (with Ka Zeng), Chinese Journal of International Politics (2019), Volume 12, Issue 4, pp. 495–518. [download]
  8. “Misperceptions of Chinese Investments in Canada and Their Correction: Evidence from a Survey Experiment” (with Yingqiu Kuang* and Linting Zhang*), Canadian Journal of Political Science (2019), Volume 52, Issue 2, pp. 285–302. [download]
  9. “Business as Usual? Economic Responses to Political Tensions between China and Japan” (with Adam Y. Liu*), International Relations of the Asia-Pacific (2019), Volume 19, Issue 2, pp. 213–236. [download]
  10. “To Join or Not to Join? State Ownership, Commercial Interests, and China’s Belt and Road Initiative” (with Ka Zeng), Pacific Affairs (2019), Volume 92, Issue 1, pp. 5–26 (lead article). [download]
    – Op-ed: Washington Post/Monkey Cage
  11. “China’s Evolving Motivations and Goals in UN Peacekeeping Participation” (with Songying Fang and Fanglu Sun), International Journal (2018), Volume 73, Issue 3, pp. 464–473. [download]
  12. “Unpacking the Patterns of Corporate Restructuring during China’s SOE Reform”  (with Jean C. Oi), Economic and Political Studies (2018), Volume 6, Issue 2, pp. 118–134. [download]
  13. “The Face of Internet Recruitment: Evaluating Labor Markets of Online Crowdsourcing Platforms in China” (with Weiyi Shi and Boliang Zhu), Research and Politics (2018), Volume 5, Issue 1, pp. 1–8. Open Access Link:
    – Blogged by: UCSD China Data Lab
  14. “Public Perceptions of International Leadership in China and the United States” (with Stefano Burzo*), Chinese Political Science Review (2018), Volume 3, Issue 1, pp. 81–99. [download]
  15. “Individual Preferences for FDI in Developing Countries: Experimental Evidence from China” (with Ka Zeng), Journal of Experimental Political Science (2017), Volume 4, Issue 3, pp. 195–205. [download]
  16. “Does Conditionality Still Work? China’s Development Assistance and Democracy in Africa”, Chinese Political Science Review (2017), Volume 2, Issue 2, pp 201–220. Open Access Link:
    -Op-ed: Washington Post/Monkey Cage
    -Media mention: BBC, CNNQuartz
  17. “Chinese Citizens’ Trust in Japan and South Korea: Findings from a Four-City Survey” (with Dingding Chen and Jianwei Wang), International Studies Quarterly (2016), Volume 60, Issue 4, pp. 778–789. [download]
  18. “Measuring Local Corruption in China: A Cautionary Tale”, Journal of Chinese Political Science (2016), Volume 21, Issue 1, pp. 21–38. [download]
  19. “Who Pollutes? Ownership Type and Environmental Performance of Chinese Firms” (with Chris Chan*), Journal of Contemporary China (2016), Volume 25, Issue 98, pp. 248–263. [download]
    – Blogged by CNPolitics (政见): 哪种中国企业更“敢于”污染?
  20. “Understanding China’s Behavioral Change in the WTO Dispute Settlement System: Power, Capacity and Normative Constraints in Trade Adjudication”, Asian Survey (2012), Volume 52, Issue 6: 1111–1137. [download]
  21. “U.S. Military Aid and Recipient Country Cooperation” (with Patricia Sullivan and Brock Tessman), Foreign Policy Analysis (2011), Volume 7, Issue 3: 275–294. [download]
    – Reprinted in Helen V. Milner and Dustin Tingley (eds.) Geopolitics of Foreign Aid. Vol. II. Cheltenham: Edward Elgar, 2013.
  22. “Social Rewards and Socialization Effects: an Alternative Explanation to the Motivation behind China’s Participation in International Institutions”. Chinese Journal of International Politics (2010), Volume 3, Issue 3: 347–377. [download]
    – Reprinted in Xuefeng Sun, Matt Ferchen and M. Taylor Fravel (eds.) China’s Rise and International Norms. Oxford University Press, 2012.
Book Chapters 
  1. “Regulating China’s Inward FDI: Changes, Challenges, and the Future”, in Jacques deLisle and Avery Goldstein (eds.) To Get Rich Is Glorious: Challenges Facing China’s Economic Reform and Opening at Forty (2019), Washington D.C.: Brookings Institution Press.
  2. “Environmental Management, Financing and Performance in Chinese Firms: Evidence from a Nationwide Survey”, in Bingqiang Ren and Huisheng Shou (eds.) Governing the Chinese Environment in a Changing Society: Dynamics, Challenges, and Prospects (2013), Palgrave Macmillan.
  3. “Learning and Socialization in International Institutions: China’s Experience with the WTO Dispute Settlement System”, in Mingjiang Li (ed.) China Joins Global Governance: Cooperation and Contentions (2012). Rowman & Littlefield: Lexington Books.
  4. “Reciprocity and Adaptation in U.S-China Foreign Policy Behaviors”, in Robert Grafstein and Fan Wan (eds.) A Bridge Too Far?: Commonalities and Differences between China and the U.S. (2009), Rowman & Littlefield: Lexington Books. [download]
Other Publications
  1. “What do Canadians think of China and the United States?” (with Paul Evans and Pascale Massot), Policy Options, December 12, 2019.
  2. “Beijing is counting on its massive Belt and Road Initiative. But are Chinese firms on board?” The Washington Post/Monkey Cage, May 14, 2019.
  3. “China is offering ‘no strings attached aid’ to Africa. Here’s what that means.” The Washington Post/Monkey Cage, September 27, 2018.
  4. “Les Québécois Positifs et Pragmatiques Face à la Chine” (with Paul Evans and Pascale Massot), Les Affaires, May 20, 2018.
  5. “Quebec Survey Respondents Positive, Pragmatic about Ties with China” (with Paul Evans and Pascale Massot), The Hill Times, May 18, 2018.
  6. “Xi’s China a source of worry and wonder for Canadians” (with Paul Evans), The Globe and Mail, October 26, 2017.
  7. “Pragmatism admist Anxiety: Canadian Opinions on China and Canada-China Relations” (with Paul Evans), Institute of Asian Research, October 17, 2017.
    -Media Coverage: National Post, UBC News, Global Times (in Chinese), Xinhua News
  8. “China as a Trading Superpower”, in Nicholas Kitchen (ed.) China’s Geoeconomic Strategy, LSE IDEAS Special Report 12, London School of Economics, London, UK., 2012.
  9. “Legalizing Nuclear Abandonment: When Do States Enter Nuclear Weapons Free Zones?” (with Matthew Fuhrmann) , Harvard Kennedy School Managing the Atom Project, March 14, 2008.
  10. “China and Multilateral Export Control Regimes: A Case of Socialization Effects in International Institutions”, The Monitor (2006), Volume 12, Issue 1: 10-14, Center for International Trade and Security.

Work In Progress (Selected)

  1. Token Forces in UN Peacekeeping (with Katharina Coleman), under advance contract with Cambridge University Press.
  2. “More than Meets the Eye: Public Perceptions and Misperceptions of China”, under review.
  3. “The Costs of Political Connections” (with Jean Oi and Chaohua Han), under review.
  4. “Territorial Indivisibility and Domestic Preference for Dispute Resolution: Evidence from Japan” (with Songying Fang, Daina Chiba, and Atsushi Tago), under review.
  5. “Fine Me If You Can: Fixed Asset Intensity and Environmental Regulation Actions in China” (with Qing Deng, Zijie Shao, and Xun Cao), under review.
  6. “The Political Economy of China’s WTO Accession”, working paper.


My latest CV can be found here.