Why would police officers look the other way when criminals run from the scene of a crime? Why would an officer fix a broken lock in exchange for the victim calling to say she reported a break-in by mistake? My research investigates issues of front-line policing and security capacity in the People’s Republic of China. It probes the challenges faced by ground-level officers and their superiors at the Ministry of Public Security as they attempt to do their jobs in the face of funding limitations, reform challenges, and structural issues that complicate police response on the ground. To do so, I rely on interviews, station-level data, news reports, internal documents, and social media postings to understand how local policing in today’s China works.


Policing China: Street-Level Cops in the Shadow of Protest. 2021. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press.

Published Articles:

"Propaganda and the Police: The Softer Side of State Control in China," Europe-Asia Studies, 73:1, 200-220, DOI: 10.1080/09668136.2020.1850644

"Rethinking Authoritarian Resilience and the Coercive Apparatus," Comparative Politics, 53:2 *(2021): 309-330.

"Policing Modern China," The China Law and Society Review, 3:2 (2018): 79-117.

"China's Unhappy Police," with Kevin O'Brien. Asian Survey, 56: 2 (2016): 225-42.

"Understanding China's Rising Rights Consciousness," with Peter Lorentzen. China Quarterly, 223 (2015): 638-57.

"Navigating Fieldwork as an Outsider: Observations from Interviewing Police Officers in China," PS: Political Science & Politics, 47: 2 (April 2014): 394-7.

Working Papers:

"Authoritarian Policing Under Xi: Continuity Trumps Change"

"Constructing State Legitimacy: Social Media, Douyin, and the Police"