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Department of Politics and International Studies (POLIS)


Dr Weatherley is an affiliated lecturer in modern Chinese politics and history at POLIS.

Robert has published six books and a number of peer-reviewed articles and book chapters on topics including the legitimation of Chinese communist power, Chinese discourses on human rights, good governance and the environment and the relationship between nationalism and history in China.

Robert has also published on aspects of Chinese law, including China’s Death Penalty Criminal Reconciliation and the trade dispute between China and the EU regarding the enforcement of intellectual property.

In addition to his academic duties, Robert is a full-time commercial lawyer with JG Poole & Co LLP.




Key publications: 


Mao’s China and Post-Mao China: Revolution, Recovery and Rejuvenation, World Scientific, 2022. (Forthcoming)

History and Nationalist Legitimacy in Contemporary China: A Double-Edged Sword, Palgrave, 2017.

Making China Strong: The Role of Nationalism in Chinese Thinking on Democracy and Human Rights, Palgrave, 2014.

Mao's Forgotten Successor: The Political Career of Hua Guofeng, Palgrave, 2010.

Politics in China Since 1949: Legitimizing Authoritarian Rule, Routledge, 2006.

The Discourse of Human Rights in China: Historical and Ideological Perspectives, Macmillan, 1999.


Journal Articles

‘A New Chinese Modernity? The Discourse of Eco-Civilisation Applied to the Belt and Road Initiative’, Third World Quarterly, 42, 9 (2021), 2115-32

‘Using the Past to Legitimise the Present: The Portrayal of Good Governance in Chinese History Textbooks’, Journal of Current Chinese Affairs, 47, 1 (2018), 41-69

‘Money for Life: The Legal Debate in China About Criminal Reconciliation in Death Penalty Cases’, Asian Perspective, 39, 2 (2015), 277-299

‘The Rise of “Republican Fever” in the PRC and the Implications for CCP Legitimacy’, China Information, 27, 3 (2013), 3-26

‘Fanning the Flames of Popular Nationalism: The Debate in China over the Burning of the Old Summer Palace’, Asian Perspective, 37, 1 (2013), 53-76

‘Owning Up to the Past: The KMT’s Role in the War Against Japan and the Impact on CCP Legitimacy’, Pacific Review, 26, 3 (2013), 221-242

‘The Evolution of Human Rights Thinking in North Korea’, Journal of Communist Studies and Transition Politics, 24, 2 (2008), 272-96

‘Defending the Nation: The Role of Nationalism in Chinese Thinking on Human Rights’, Democratization, 15, 2 (2008), 342-62

‘Harmony or Coercion: EU-China Trade Dispute Involving Intellectual Property Enforcement’, Wisconsin International Law Journal, 25, 3 (2007), 439-90

‘Challenging the State Orthodoxy: Liberal Conceptions of Human Rights in Late Qing and Post-Mao China’, Journal of Asian Pacific Communication, 17, 2 (2007), 331-52

‘Harmony, Hierarchy and Duty Based Morality: The Confucian Antipathy Towards Rights’, Journal of Asian Pacific Communication, 2, 2 (2002), 245-67

‘The Evolution of Chinese Thinking on Human Rights in the Post-Mao Era’, Journal of Communist Studies and Transition Politics, 17, 2 (2001), 19-42

‘Human Rights in China: Between Marx and Confucius’, Critical Review of International Social and Political Philosophy, 3, 4 (2000), 101-25

Book Chapters

‘History and Legitimacy in Contemporary China: Towards Competing Nationalisms’, in Cheng-tian Kuo (ed.) Religion and Nationalism in Chinese Societies (Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press, 2017).

‘Democracy with Chinese Characteristics: The Importance of National Conditions’, in Lion Koenig and Bidisha Chaudhuri (eds.), Politics of the ‘Other’ in India and China: Western Concepts in Non-Western Contexts (London: Routledge, 2016), 155-66.

‘Human Rights’, in Chris Ogden (ed.), Handbook of China’s Governance and Domestic Politics (London: Routledge, 2012), 187-98. 

Affiliated Lecturer
Dr Robert  Weatherley

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