Lai-Ha Chan is a Senior Lecturer in the Social and Political Sciences Program, School of Communication at the University of Technology Sydney (UTS). She was a visiting fellow in the Princeton Institute for International and Regional Studies, Princeton University in the academic year 2016-2017.
Her research interests revolve around global governance of public health, humanitarian intervention and international development and China’s role in it. Her current research centres on China’s economic statecraft and infrastructure investment through the means of its Belt and Road Initiative, and their impact on regional order-building in the Indo-Pacific.
Her most recent publication is Australia’s Strategic Hedging in the Indo-Pacific: A ‘Third Way’ Beyond Either China or the US (Australia-China Research Institute, UTS, 2019). Her earlier book monographs were China Engages Global Governance: A New World Order in the Making? (Routledge, 2012) and China Engages Global Health Governance: Responsible Stakeholder or System-Transformer? (Palgrave, 2011). She has published peer-reviewed articles in the past five years in Australian Journal of International Affairs (2016; 2017), and Global Governance: A Review of Multilateralism and International Organizations (2014). Her full publication profile is available at https://scholar.google.com/citations?user=X4r0cR4AAAAJ&hl=en
External Honorific Positions
- 2018-2010 (a 3-year appointment): Member of the Advisory Peer Group for the BSSc (Hons) in China and Global Studies degree, Open University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong
- 2016-17: Fung Global Fellow, Princeton Institute for International and Regional Studies, Princeton University, U.S.A. (a competitive year-long funded fellowship by Princeton University).
- 2016 – present: External Associate of the Centre for the Study of Globalisation and Regionalisation, the University of Warwick, U.K.
- 2016 (January – August): Visiting Fellow, Department of History, Politics and International Relations, Macquarie University, Australia
Can supervise: YES
- China's International Relations
- Global Health Governance
- Military Intervention
- Development Aid
- China's Economic Statecraft and Infrastructure Investment
- Australia's Hedging Policy
- Regional Order-Building in the Indo-Pacific
- Global Politics (58222)
- Global Governance (99204)
- Poltiics, Ideologies and Beliefs (54051)
- Intervening for Change (54054)
- Professional Pathway projects (54055)
Chan, G, Lee, PK & Chan, L 2012, China Engages Global Governance: A new world order in the making?, 1, Routledge, New York.
This book focuses on Chinas increasing involvement in global governance as a result of the phenomenal rise of its economy and global power. It examines whether and in what ways China is capable of participating in multilateral interactions; if it is willing and able to provide global public goods to address a wide array of global problems; and what impact this would have on both global governance and order. The book provides a comprehensive assessment of Chinas increasing influence over how world affairs are being managed; how far China, with increasing clout, interacts with other major powers in global governance, and what the consequences and implications are for the evolving global system and world order. This book is the first to explore Chinas engagement with global governance in traditional and new securities.
Chan, L 2011, China Engages Global Health Governance: Responsible Stakeholder or System Transformer?, 1, Palgrave Macmillan, New York.
China Engages Global Health Governance is the first book to systematically examine China's participation in the global health domain. It examines how and why China changed its stance on its HIV/AIDS epidemic and investigates China's emerging role in Africa's AIDS crisis and the controversial issue of access to anti-retroviral drugs for the continent's impoverished people. In scrutinizing China's evolving global role and its intentions for global governance and global health governance, this book argues that China is neither a system-defender nor a system-transformer of the liberal international order. While acting in concert with other major powers, China strives to defend itself from the encroachment of liberal democratic values on the world stage. In order to carve out some international space for itself and to fend off attacks by the liberal normative structure, China calls for multilateral cooperation in a "harmonious world." With the suggestion that there is no universally applicable blueprint for development, Beijing tries to shore up the principle of national sovereignty and non-intervention and strengthen ties with developing countries to consolidate a normative and political bulwark against liberal democratic values. In short, China possesses a hybrid national identity in its deepening engagement with global governance.
Chan, L-H 2020, 'Can China remake regional order? Contestation with India over the Belt and Road Initiative', Global Change, Peace & Security, vol. 32, no. 2, pp. 199-217.View/Download from: Publisher's site
This article argues that China's Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) can be understood via the lens of regional ordering, whereby China attempts to redefine the shared goals and values for the region of Eurasia and to socialise regional states into the new values in order to have their consent to its leadership. The success of this strategy would then depend, to a large extent, on how its target regional audience reacts to the order-remaking strategy and practices. Taking an 'eye of the beholder' perspective, this article focuses on Indian perceptions of China's order-remaking strategy in South Asia. It posits that India uses the 'debt trap diplomacy' narrative to delegitimise China's infrastructure investment activities based on state capitalism, which have been perceived as a move to upend the status quo and challenge New Delhi's traditional leadership in the region. To counter China's growing influence, India is networking with other like-minded countries to promote a 'free and open Indo-Pacific' through groupings such as the Asia-Africa Growth Corridor, the Quad, Malabar exercises, and increasing political and economic bonds with the ASEAN countries. A serious contest over order between China and India in the Indian Ocean is looming on the horizon.
Chan, L-H 2020, 'Strategic hedging: A "Third Way" for Australian Foreign Policy in the Indo-Pacific', Asia Policy, vol. 15, no. 3, pp. 87-112.
This project aims to explore the viability of 'strategic hedging' for Australia to insure itself against three potential security risks it is facing, namely (a) excessive reliance on China for economic growth; (b) China's political and military domination of the region; and (c) US reduction in its strategic commitment to the region.
Chan, L 2017, 'Review of : "HIV/AIDS in China and India: Governing Health Security"', The China Journal, vol. 77.
Chan, LH 2017, 'Soft balancing against the US 'pivot to Asia': China's geostrategic rationale for establishing the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank', Australian Journal of International Affairs, vol. 71, no. 6, pp. 568-590.View/Download from: Publisher's site
© 2017 Australian Institute of International Affairs. The existing accounts about the China-led multilateral development bank—the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB)—have focused on the USA's policy concerns and the economic and commercial reasons for China having established it. Two deeper questions are left unaddressed: Was there any strategic rationale for China to initiate a new multilateral development bank and, if so, how effective is China's strategy? From a neorealist balance-of-power perspective, this article argues that China has felt threatened by the Obama administration's rebalance to the Asia-Pacific strategy. In response, China is opting for a soft-balancing policy to carve out a regional security space in Eurasia in order to mitigate the threat coming from its east. China's material power, premised on the fact that the country is a huge domestic market and flush with cash, has proved irresistible for Asian states, with the exception of Japan, to be enticed away from the USA. On the one hand, this article adds weight to the claim that although the USA remains the pre-eminent military power in the Asia-Pacific, it has fallen into a relative decline in regional economic governance; on the other, China's soft balancing has its own limitations in forming like-minded partnerships with, and offering security guarantees to, AIIB members. A China-led regional order is yet to have arrived, even with the AIIB.
Chan, L 2016, 'China's and India's Perspective on Armed Intervention in Africa and Syria', Australian Outlook.
Chan, L 2016, 'Review of : "Managing Global Health Security: The World Health Organization and Disease Outbreak Control"', Australia Outlook.
Chan, L 2016, 'The Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB): A Matter of Concern for the Existing Multilateral Development Banks?'.
Lee, PK & Chan, LH 2016, 'China's and India's perspectives on military intervention: why Africa but not Syria?', Australian Journal of International Affairs, vol. 70, no. 2, pp. 179-214.View/Download from: Publisher's site
© 2016 Australian Institute of International Affairs. ABSTRACT: This article addresses the puzzle for students of international relations as to why China and India, two major re-emerging powers in Asia, do not always baulk at military intervention invoked by Chapter VII of the United Nations Charter, while they rhetorically harbour strong reservations about it. The recent cases of Côte d'Ivoire (2011), Libya (2011), Syria (since 2011) and Mali (since 2012) show that both China and India acquiesced in external military intervention in these African countries plunged into brutal civil wars, with only intervention in Syria being rebuffed. By studying how they voted in the United Nations Security Council in 2011–12 and their discourses on intervention, including humanitarian intervention, this article examines why their decisions about intervention in Africa diverged from their decisions regarding intervention in Syria. The authors put forward the thesis that their behaviour can be explained by an interplay between norms and interests, in which they express a common anti-US liberal imperialist stance, shaped by a 'collective historical trauma' and 'post-imperial ideology', and demonstrate concerns for state failure and preferences for regional initiatives and political mediation to resolve civil wars.
In the wake of Chinas rapid ascendancy, are there any new rules made by the country in global health governance? This article examines Chinas emerging role in the Agreement on Trade Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights and finds that China adopts a prostatus quo stance on patented medicines. Aspiring to develop its own pharmaceutical sector to be capable to produce patented medicines on a par with the West, it has little appetite for using the prevailing rules or making new rules that are to the liking of the developing world. Undoubtedly, China is a new player in global health governance but has yet to have agenda-setting intent and capacity. This article argues that Chinas behavior and preferences can be explained by its dualistic national identities, the dominant position of realism in both the study of international relations and policy circles, and an underdevelopment of epistemic community in global health governance in the country. :
Most people hold that in its quest for natural resources abroad, China shields rogue states with egregious human-rights record from international opprobrium and sanctions. Its political support for Sudan is a case in point. By examining Chinese perspectives on humanitarian intervention and national sovereignty, this article first argues that Beijing's interests are so multiple and complex that concern about the implications of humanitarian intervention for national integration is more crucial than oil in determining its policy towards Sudan. Paradoxically it asserts that China, a non-democratic country, is more influential than liberal democratic states in making the rules of humanitarian intervention in Darfur because of a lack of political will in the West. In addition, there are early signs that China intends to utilise its newfound power to remake international rules regarding territorial sovereignty. Further development is likely to be shaped by its interactions with the United States
Chan, L 2010, 'WHO: the world's most powerful international organisation?', Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health, vol. 64, no. 2, pp. 97-98.
In light of the outbreaks of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) in 2003 and the recent A/H1N1(swine influenza), this article argues that the World Health Organization (WHO) is growing to be the most powerful international organisationd even more influential than the United Nations (UN) Security Council. `Power here is defined as the ability to performand act effectively to get a desired outcome.
Chan, L, Chen, L & Xu, J 2010, 'China's Engagement with Global Health Diplomacy: Was SARS a Watershed?', PLoS Medicine, vol. 7, no. 4, pp. 1-6.
SARS not only exposed a fundamental shortcoming of China's public health surveillance system but also forced China to realize that, in the era of globalization, public health is no longer a domestic, social issue that can be isolated from foreign-policy concern. There are signs that China is now using public health as a means to strengthen its diplomatic relations with the developing world, in particular the African continent. While China has embraced multilateral cooperation in a wide array of global health issues, its engagement remains "state centric".
Chan, L, Lee, PK & Chan, G 2009, 'China Engages Global Health Governance: Processes and Dilemmas', Global Public Health: An International Journal for Research, Policy and Practice, vol. 4, no. 1, pp. 1-30.View/Download from: Publisher's site
Using HIV/AIDS, Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS), and avian influenza as case studies, this paper discusses the processes and dilemmas of China's participation in health governance, both at the domestic level and the global level. Globalization has eroded the boundary between public and private health and between domestic and global health governance. In addition, the SARS outbreak of 2002-2003 focused global attention on China's public health. As a rising power with the largest population on earth, China is expected by the international community to play a better and more active role in health management. Since the turn of this century, China has increasingly embraced multilateralism in health governance. This paper argues that China's multilateral cooperation is driven by both necessity and conscious design. International concerns about good governance and its aspiration to become a 'responsible' state have exerted a normative effect on China to change tack. Its interactions with United Nations agencies have triggered a learning process for China to securitize the spread of infectious diseases as a security threat. Conversely, China has utilized multilateralism to gain access to international resources and technical assistance. It is still a matter of debate whether China's cooperative engagement with global health governance can endure, because of the persistent problems of withholding information on disease outbreaks and because of its insistence on the Westphalian notion of sovereignty.
This paper asks why China engages with the reclusive military regime of Myanmar and shields it from international opprobrium over its dismal human rights record. Conventional wisdom has it that China wishes to gain a foothold in the untapped energy resources of this Southeast Asian nation when China is increasingly reliant on imported oil and gas and to establish military bases on Myanmar soil. Without completely repudiating the first argument, the paper contends that the scramble for energy is not the principal reason for China to adopt an accommodating approach towards Myanmar. The principle and practice of non-interference espoused by the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), with regard to democracy and the human rights situation in Myanmar, also plays a pivotal role in shaping Chinaâs relations with the military junta. The paper sheds light on Chinaâs grand strategy of building up an architecture of global governance on the basis of regional intergovernmental organisations, aimed at reducing the hegemonic influence of the United States in Asia and the world.
This paper examines the connection between China's domestic governance and its involvement in global governance in environmental protection by studying the major actors and issues involved in the interaction between the domestic and international spheres of activities. These actors include international institutions, national and local governments, nongovernmental organisations, and others. The paper demonstrates that China has made some substantive progress in protecting its environment, but much more needs to be done. Internationally it seems to lack the will or the capability to make much contribution towards global environmental governance. However, because of its huge aggregate size, what it does or does not do to avert environmental degradation at home could have a significant impact on collective efforts to protect the environment at the global level.
Chan, L, Chan, G & Lee, PK 2008, 'Rethinking Global Governance: A China Model in the Making?', Contemporary Politics, vol. 14, no. 1, pp. 3-19.
This paper examines Chinese perspectives on global governance, an area in which China has increased substantially the depth and breadth of its participation. The paper attempts to draw a mainstream perspective to inform our understanding of some key aspects of China's foreign policy. It demonstrates that while China's statist preference appeals to some Third World countries, such a preference leads the country to clash with the West over how to tackle global issues collectively, particularly over humanitarian intervention. While the Chinese perspective is in the process of evolving and far from reaching maturity, it is questionable whether the global community led by the West would find the Westphalian practice that China embraces admirable.
Chan, L-H 2020, 'Can China's Belt and Road Initiative Build a Peaceful Regional Order? Acquiescence and Resistance in South Asia' in Clarke, M, Sussex, M & Bisley, N (eds), The Belt and Road Initiative and the Future of Regional Order in the Indo-Pacific, Lexington Books, Lanham, pp. 23-40.
The Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), comprising the "Silk Road Economic Belt" and the "twenty-first-century Maritime Silk Road," was first announced in 2013 by China's President Xi Jinping in two separate speeches, made in Kazakhstan and Indonesia respectively. The overall design of this initiative was to foster regional interconnectivity, linking up a total of over sixty countries across Asia and Europe to Africa, and accounting for some 60 percent of the world's population.1 There are multiple rationales for setting up this infrastructure project, including economic and commercial reasons that incorporate China's need to export its production overcapacity and arrest its domestic economic slowdown.2 But more importantly it also serves as a softbalancing response to the US "pivot to Asia," carving out a regional security space in Eurasia to mitigate the threat coming from the east of China in the Asia-Pacific region.3 Hence international politics has had a role to play in China's decision to establish both the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) and BRI.
In line with arguments about soft-balancing, this chapter contends that BRI aims to contest or constrain the United States as the incumbent hegemon softly, and to negotiate new rules and norms and provision of (regional) public goods with Eurasian states to encourage them to consent to China's leadership. In other words, the strategic objective of the BRI is regional order (re)building. Via the BRI, China is attempting to redefine shared goals and values across Eurasia and socialize them to regional actors. As a result the success of the BRI depends, to a large extent, on how its target regional audience reacts to the order-building strategy and practices. Do they acquiesce to a China-led regional order or reject it? Which states will be members of that regional order, and which will dissent? What reasons do those states have for either joining BRI or resisting Chinese efforts to co-opt them?
Chan, G, Lee, PK & Chan, LH 2013, 'China's quest for greater influence in global economic governance: Accomplishments and limitations' in Patman, R & Huang, X (eds), China and the International System: Becoming a World Power, Routledge, Abingdon, Oxon, pp. 89-107.View/Download from: Publisher's site
Chan, L & Keith, RC 2013, 'China's changing public health paradox and the new generation of health NGOs' in Hossain, M, Sarker, T & McIntosh, M (eds), The Asian Century, Sustainable Growth and Climate Change, Edward Elgar Publishing, Cheltenham, UK, pp. 137-159.
Chan, L 2012, 'China's Engagement with Global Health Democracy: Was SARS a Watershed' in Rosskam, E & Kickbusch, I (eds), Negotiating and Navigating Globabl Health, World Scientific Publishing, Singapore, Singapore, pp. 203-219.
Growing interest in a wide range of global health issues makes China an increasingly important actor in the international health arena. This case study provides a closer look at the transitions in China's health policy after the epidemic of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome and yields insights into the wide-ranging consequences that can be observed both within and beyond the national borders.
Chan, L 2012, 'In Quest of Independence: An Unchanging Paradigm of China's Foreign Policy' in Emilian Kavalski (ed), The Ashgate Research Companion to Chinese Foreign Policy, Ashgate Publishing Limited, UK, pp. 23-32.
Chan, L, Lee, PK & Chan, G 2012, 'China's Vision of Global Governance: A Resurrection of the "Central Kingdom"?' in Mingjiang Li (ed), China Joins Global Governance, Lexington Books, UK, pp. 15-33.
China's rapid ascendancy in the past decades has sparked off livcly debates in the mass media as well as in academic and policymaking circles as to what China will do with its newfound power. Previous studies about China's rise and irs gradual integration in rhe world can be broadly divided into duee different groups. Scholars in the first group examine if China would comply with the norms and rules made and proffered by the West. 1 They query whether China can adjust itself [0 the norms and ru les that have been set and preferred by the dominant powers since World War II. The second group of scholars has pondered whether China will arrempr to challenge the position of the United States as a hegemon in the world. Similar to those in the first group, they tend ro gauge China's commitmem to the liberal inrernational order and ask whether China is a status quo power,2 a (dis)satisfied power,J a regional threat,4 or a responsible state.s The third group of schola rs argues that China seeks great power status, clamoring for "a seat at the table" of the eli te club of major powers.
Chan, L 2011, 'Oscillating between Mao and Deng? The Domestic-Global Nexus of China's Public Health Reform' in Chan, L, Chan, G & Fung, K (eds), China at 60: Global-Local Interactions, World Scientific Publishing, Singapore, pp. 255-281.
Deng's China inherited a Maoist cradle-to-grave health-care system that emphasised wide entitlement and access to medical care that was backed up by the state or collective financing. However, the economic reforms since the late 19705 have sadly left the country with a failing public health system. From the turn of this century onwards, the Chinese government has gone to great lengths to revert its health-care system partially back to the Maoist universal one in different ways. Previous studies have largely ignored the external factors that contribute to the recent health reform in China. This chapter has demonstrated that what motivates the Chinese leadership to press ahead with public health reform in the country are not only internal demands, but also external factors, such as the pressures to make improvements exerted by intergovernmental organisations and international opprobrium over its rickety health-care situation. Owing to the powerful force of globalisation, it has now become a global norm that all states are obliged to cooperate with each other under a global institution to prevent a global spread of contagious diseases. First, the normative pressure from the global community, particularly the pressure that emerged during the SARS outbreak in 2003, has heightened China's awareness of the need to remedy its ailing health system and shoulder greater responsibility for providing public goods for health to its own citizens as well as the global community. Second, using 'naming and shaming' tactics, the WHO fairly succeeds in prodding countries into complying with its health regime. The global discourse on disease transmission creates a situation in which states can no longer afford to evade WHO advice. Third, due to the recent global economic downturn, the Chinese government increased its investment in its health system as part of an economic stimulus package to promote domestic consumption. Overall, China's increasing participation in globa health gover...
Chan, L, Chan, G & Fung, K 2011, 'China at 60: Global-Local Interaction - Introduction' in Lai-Ha, C, Chan, G & Fung, K (eds), China at 60: Global-Local Interactions, World Scientific Publishing, Singapore, pp. 1-13.
The year 2009 marks the 60th anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China (PRC). On its formation, the PRC leadership ought to achieve a 10ng-l1eld ambit ion to build a pro perous and strong Chinese state that could command respect and recognition among .its international peers. Previous studies on China have generally used the year 1979 as a watershed of its transformation from the Mao era to Deng's economic reform. This disjuncture between pre-1979 China and post-1979 China has dominated scholarly attention in their analyses of the role of political leadership in social and economic developments in these two separate periods. Examples include Loren Brandt and Thomas Raw ki, Kjeld Erik Brodsgaard and Zheng Yongnian, David Goodman, Doug Guthrie, Nichola Lardy, Li Cheng, Peter Nolan, Cze law Tubilewicz, Gordon Whit , as well as Dali L. Yang and Zhao Litao. There has been considerable work done by scholars such as Nick Knight and Zheng Yongnian on China's international linkages, particularly on its transformation in coping with the external forces of globalisation. They argue that while globalisation generates both opportunities and risks for China, opportunities outweigh the risks and China has been using a flexible approach to cope with globalisation. China's engagement with the outside world intersected with its internal development strategies in a host of complex ways over the course of these 60 years. With this in mind, a dual theme - change-and-continuity and global-local interactions on China's development - is adopted to assess the historical development of China's policies in various issue areas in the past 60 years. Focus is on the domestic impacts of China's previous and present engagement with the world, the global implications of China's reform efforts and growing power, and the long-lasting uniqueness of this non-European rising or re-emerging nation. What distinguishes this edited volume from others is its explicit emphais on the ext...
Lee, PK, Chan, G & Chan, L 2009, 'China Engages Myanmar as a Chinese Client State?' in Yeoh, EKK (ed), Regional Political Economy of China Ascendant, Institute of China Studies, Malaysia, pp. 70-95.
Lee, PK & Chan, L 2007, 'Non-Traditional Security Threat in China: Challenges of Energy Shortage and Infectious Diseases' in cheng, JYS (ed), Challenges and Policy Programmes on China's New Leadership, City University of Hong Kong Press, Hong Kong, pp. 297-336.
Chan, L-H Australia-China Relations Institute Policy Paper 2019, Australia's Strategic Hedging in the Indo-Pacific: A 'Third Way' Beyond Either China or the US, Australia-China Relations Institute Policy Paper, pp. 1-27, Sydney.
Chan, L-H & Lee, PK University of Warwick 2017, Power, Ideas and Institutions: China's Emergent Footprints in Global Governance of Development Aid, CSGR Working Paper No. 281/17, no. 281/17, University of Warwick.
Chan, L Griffith Asia Institute 2006, The Evolution of Health Governance in China: A Case Study of HIV/AIDS, pp. 2-18, Brisbane.
Chan, L 2017, 'Power, Ideas and Institutions: China's Emergent Footprints in Global Governance of Development Aid', CSGR Working Paper No. 281/17.
Chan, L-H & Lee, PK 2016, 'CHINA'S AND INDIA'S PERSPECTIVES ON ARMED INTERVENTIONS IN AFRICA AND SYRIA', Australian Institutie of International Affairs.
When both China and India sat on the United Nations Security Council in 2011–12, it deliberated whether to invoke Chapter VII of the UN Charter to endorse military intervention in Africa and the Middle East. China and India demonstrated almost identical voting patterns and acquiesced to the intervention in Côte d'Ivoire, Libya and Mali but balked at an attempt in Syria. Despite their divergent political systems, what was the glue that held them together? Why were they opposed to external intervention in Syria only? Was Libya a game changer for their perception of military intervention?
Current research partners on a book project, entitled Chinese Hegemony and the Belt and Road Initiative
- Dr Pak Kuen Lee; https://www.kent.ac.uk/politics/staff/canterbury/lee.html
- Dr Anisa Heritage; https://www.kent.ac.uk/politics/staff/canterbury/heritage.html