Research Large


The LSE-Fudan Global Public Policy Hub engages in collaborative research with Fudan University, across LSE and with other world-class research institutions. We work on health, climate, pensions and other government policies for China and other countries, with a particular focus on the non-Western world



Pragmatism or Politicism: Local Officials’ Decision Making in Social Policy Experimentation

Dr Yan Wang published a new paper with SSRN on local officials' decision making in China. In this research, she used two unique studies with survey experiments on municipal- and county-level government officials in China and investigate their rationale and attention allocation on social policy preferences, as well as their decision making on policy experiments. 

Read the full article here.



Data is a Decisive Instrument Against COVID

Dr Yuxi Zhang co-authored an editorial article "Capturing the COVID-19 Crisis through Public Health and Social Measures Data Science" in the journal Nature Scientific Data.

Together the research groups have collected data on the reactions of governments to the pandemic. It is used in response to fundamental questions such as: How effective are school closures in containing the spread of the virus? What travel restrictions make good sense? How should contact tracing be organized?

Read the full editorial here.


Idol culture 

The ‘Self-motivated’ Nationalism in China’s Idol-Fandom

Research Fellow Dr Yan Wang participated in the American Sociological Association Annual Conference in Los Angeles, USA. Together with Dr Ting Luo, she presented their paper “Politicising for Non-Politics: The ‘Self-motivated’ Nationalism in China’s Idol-Fandom”.

Their research focuses on 2019-2020, when the pandemic emerged, spread and was controlled in China. They construct their analysis under the computational grounded theory framework with over 6 million fandom posts collected from social media platform, and eleven in-depth interviews with active idol-fans. The evidence shows that the idol-fans actively engage in social issues and build positive images of their idols with discourses from the state-approved values, and engage in the nationalism discourse to achieve their goal of promoting idols.


digital data

From 'Big Data' to 'Thick Data': Machine Learning for Social Media Research

On 30 June 2022, Research Fellow Dr Yan Wang participated in a workshop "Researching Mobile Apps in China: Technicity, Culture and the Everyday" at the University of Sheffield with a talk entitled "From 'Big Data' to 'Thick Data': Machine Learning for Social Media Research". She discusses a way to move beyond the binary quantitative and qualitative debates to a sociological idea of data that infers connection to context and setting. She suggest that data from digital media needs to be linked to an individual’s doing and specific actions in everyday life, to combine with their demographic details and social-economic backgrounds. In order words, the thick data approach, would harness the “descriptive power of the social sciences.”



International Workshop on Climate Change and Adaption

On 22 June 2022, Research Fellow Dr Yuxi Zhang participated in an international workshop on climate change and adaptation at Fudan University. Led by Professor Daniel Guttman, it involved scholars from Australia, the USA and China. Dr Zhang, in co-operation with Professor Xu Tang, presented their paper "Case studies of risks analysis - a key step of institutional adaption to address future governance challenges".


busy street

The Construction and Performance of Citizenship in Contemporary China

LSE-Fudan Hub Council Member Professor Timothy Hildebrandt has co-authored an article on citizenship education in China, which is an explicit part of the universal education system in the country. Using data from an original nationwide survey conducted in 2018, the study tested the hypothesis that the longer the intensity of exposure to citizenship education, the more citizens are influenced by a state-led conception of citizenship characterized by passive obedience and loyalty to the state. The study found mixed results.

 Read the full article here.  




Volunteerism and Democratic Learning in an Authoritarian State

LSE-Fudan Hub Council Member Professor Timothy Hildebrandt has co-authored an article on the interaction between civil society and the government in China. The researchers analysed the similarities and difference between volunteer engagement in China and other countries, including whether they learn “citizen skills” or hold government organization accountable for poor performance. The study also found that volunteers in China participate as a means to send signals to the state that they are emerging local community leaders.

Read the full article here.


260422 FudanNews

How Chinese social media sentiment about COVID changed during 2020

Chinese social media sentiment about the pandemic fluctuated during 2020. In this blog post, Dr Yuxi Zhang and Dr Yan Wang use platform data to analyse how these waves of sentiment emerged and shifted, and look at the case of a woman who caught COVID in December of that year.

"COVID-19 has profoundly reshaped the way human beings interact. In the era of social distancing, the internet has become the main sphere where social interactions happen, including teaching and learning, work collaboration, political and social participation, and private gatherings."

Read the article here.



China’s tough stance on COVID is unlikely to change soon, but minor modifications are possible

In the third of three blog posts about the launch of the LSE-Fudan Global Public Policy Hub, Winnie Yip (Harvard) has written about China's tough stance on Covid-19.

"China’s continued pursuit of a zero-COVID policy makes it an outlier internationally. But the country, like the rest of the world, still faces a great deal of uncertainty. Although we are now in the third year of COVID, much about the virus remains unknown."

Read the article here.



Chinese cities are too powerful for their own good

In the second of three blog posts about the launch of the LSE-Fudan Global Public Policy Hub, Xuefei Ren (Michigan State University) has written about the power of Chinese cities.

"From health care to pension, from infrastructure to education, responsibilities that are shared among federal, state, and local governments in other countries fall on the shoulders of municipal governments in China. As a result, cities have been borrowing massively from banks to fulfil their responsibilities, and most Chinese cities are in debt."

Read the article here.



COVID in China: how do you get down from a tiger’s back?

In the first of three blog posts about the launch of the LSE-Fudan Global Public Policy Hub, Xiaobo Lü (Columbia) has written about the increasing politicisation of Covid-19 in China.

"Up until now, China has been able to rely on public support for its COVID policies. It has achieved that by unifying the population in a crisis, and by politicising the public health crisis. If we use a Chinese proverb to describe the situation, so far, the country has ridden the tiger; but now the challenge China faces is how to get down from a tiger’s back."

Read the article here.



How Chinese provincial governments responded to the Delta and Omicron waves

Dr Yuxi Zhang published a journal article in collaboration with Dr Thomas Elston of Oxford in the Hansard Society's journal -- Parliamentary Affairs.

In the article titled “Implementing Public Accounts Committee Recommendations: Evidence from the UK Government’s ‘Progress Reports’ since 2012”, Yuxi and the co-author explored what can be inferred about the quality and timeliness of government implementation with a novel dataset built on the Treasury-issued Progress Report. This thread of research links to Yuxi’s broad interest in implementation issues and legislative scrutiny in the public administration field.

Read the journal article here.



How Chinese provincial governments responded to the Delta and Omicron waves

Dr Yuxi Zhang has co-authored a new article on the LSE Covid-19 blog, collecting and analysing China’s data for the Oxford COVID-19 Government Response Tracker.

"By late 2021, most countries with high vaccination rates had moved toward “living with COVID”, including some previous “zero-COVID” holdouts, such as Australia, New Zealand and Singapore. However, China has become virtually the only country which continues to try to eliminate the virus. Can it continue to do so?"

Read the article here.



Governmentality and Counter-conduct in Authoritarian Regime: Social Policy, State Legitimacy and Strategic Actors 

Dr Yan Wang was invited by the School of Social Science, Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, to discuss her forthcoming book on 30 December 2021.  

Dr Wang’s book, ‘Pension Policy And Governmentality In China: Manufacturing public compliance,’ investigates the issue of how the state maintains compliance from the governed in periods of rapid social and economic transformation, and how does the logic of its governmentality change along with its priorities. Empirically, the book takes advantage of the pension changes among China’s social welfare reforms, deciphering a two-way story of statecraft in authoritarian regimes and exploring whether there may be room for cognitional counter-conduct from the public. 

Lean more about the event here.



Building Deservingness and Fairness: How Chinese State Crafts the Social Legitimacy of Its New Welfare Schemes 

In October 2021, Dr Yan Wang was invited to speak at the School of Sociology, Shanghai University, to discuss her research on pension policy and deservingness building in China.  

The talk mainly focused on the state's role in social welfare and what actions it might take to help promote changes in welfare policies. During the discussion, Dr Wang also discussed the issue of using machine learning in social science studies. 

An extract from Dr Wang’s research abstract says: “By fleshing out the use of discourse, differences in sentiment, and the positioning of priorities when the large-scale welfare retrenchment was conducted in China, this article investigated the state’s construction of social legitimation of its new pension schemes. More specifically, on the questions such as what is appreciated and condemned, what is the virtue desired of a ‘good and responsible citizen’, what should citizens expect to get from the government when faced with such social risks as unemployment, illness and ageing and so on.” 

covid vaccine

The global political response to COVID-19 was not effective, but we can learn from it

Dr Yuxi Zhang participated in the report ''Moving from words to action: identifying political barriers to pandemic preparedness'' of the Global Preparedness Monitoring Board. The report was summarised on the blog ''Voices'' of the University of Oxford.

The report looks at political barriers that have hindered COVID-19 response and provides suggestions on how to overcome such barriers.

Read the summary of the report here.

The original report can be found here.

Research and News-2021.12-20

Chinese provincial government responses to COVID-19

Dr Yuxi Zhang was invited by the School of Public Administration at Renmin University of China to share her research on government COVID-19 policy responses on 9 October 2021. The event was joined by more than 300 audience online. 

The talk discussed China's vaccination rollout, which followed a different ordering of population groups than most other countries. The talk also shared research updates regarding the province-level policy responses to the “Delta wave” in Summer 2021 compared to those during previous local transmissions.

Read the underlying analysis report of the research here.