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Dr Robert Weatherley

Dr Robert Weatherley

Affiliated Lecturer

Office Phone: 01223 222 338


Dr Weatherley is a lawyer with Mills & Reeve LLP and the founding member of the firm’s China Desk. He teaches Chinese domestic politics and international relations on the Master of Studies in International Relations course at POLIS. Dr Weatherley completed his PhD in Chinese politics at the University of Newcastle upon Tyne funded by the Konishi Foundation Fellowship. As an undergraduate Robert studied Chinese at the People's University in Beijing (1991-92) and part of his doctoral research was spent at Nankai University in Tianjin (1995-96). His research interests are varied, but usually come back to the same underlying theme – the significance of the past in modern day Chinese political thinking and practice. 

Key Publications


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

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

‘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.