Associate Professor of International AffairsFaculty Fellow, Center for International Trade and Security

Curriculum Vitae

Rongbin Han is an Associate Professor in the Department of International Affairs, University of Georgia. He received his Ph.D. from University of California, Berkeley in 2012. Dr. Han was born and grew up in East China’s Jiangsu Province. He got his bachelor degree in International Studies from Peking University, Beijing. He also received a Master of Social Sciences from National University of Singapore in 2006. Dr. Han’s research interests are  media & cyber politics, political participation in authoritarian regimes, authoritarian resilience, and democratization, with an area focus of China. He is the author of Contesting Cyberspace in China: Online Expression and Authoritarian Resilience (Columbia University Press).


  • Ph.D., University of California at Berkeley 2012, Political Science
  • M.A., University of California at Berkeley 2007, Political Science
  • Master of Social Sciences, National University of Singapore 2006, Social Sciences
  • B.A., Peking University 2003, International Studies
More About

Rongbin Han Joined the Department of International Affairs, University of Georgia in 2013. He received his Ph.D. from University of California, Berkeley in 2012.

Dr. Han’s research interests are social activism, media politics, political participation, and democratization. His area focus is China. He has published on topics including rural democracy in China, Internet politics, local governance, and heritage preservation mobilization. His book, Contesting Cyberspace in China: Online Expression and Authoritarian Resilience, examines Internet governance in ChinaBy investigating the struggles over online expression—both as a cat-and-mouse censorship game and from the angle of discourse competition—it makes a two-fold counter-intuitive claim: (1) the Chinese party-state can almost indefinitely co-exist with the expansion of emancipating Internet; (2) but the key explanation for this co-existence does not lie in the state’s capacity to control and adapt, as many have argued, but more so in the pluralization of online expression, which empowers not only regime critics, but also pro-regime voices, particularly pro-state nationalism.

Dr. Han is also working on several other projects, including politics of land appropriation in China, cyber nationalism, and authoritarian legitimation.


Areas of Expertise

Media politics, cyber politics, Internet governance, contentious politics, digital activism, cyber security, authoritarian resilience, authoritarian legitimation, Chinese Politics, East Asian politics

Honors, Awards, and Achievements
  • 2018: The SPIA Online Course Development Grant
  • 2018: John and Vivian Sabel Award of the best article published in the Journal of Contemporary China
  • 2015-2016: SPIA Seed Grant (with Robert Grafstein)
  • 2014: SPIA Internal Research Grant, University of Georgia
  • 2013-2014: New Faculty Research Grant, University of Georgia
  • 2011-2012: Finishing Fellowship, Department of Political Science, UC Berkeley
  • 2011-2012: Haas Junior Scholars Program Grant
  • 2011: Graduate Division Summer Grant, UC Berkeley
  • 2010: Elvera Kwang Siam Lim Fellowship in Chinese Studies, Center for Chinese Studies, UC Berkeley
  • 2009-2010: Dean’s Normative Fellowship, UC Berkeley
  • 2007-2009: Non-Resident Tuition Fellowship, UC Berkeley
  • 2008: Center for Chinese Studies Summer Research Grant, UC Berkeley
  • 2006-2007: Department Fellowship, Department of Political Science, UC Berkeley
  • 2005: National University of Singapore Travel Grant
  • 2003-2005: National University of Singapore Research Scholarship
  • 2004: Asia Research Institute Fieldwork Funding for National University of Singapore Graduate Students
  • 2003: Excellent Graduate Award of Beijing Municipality
  • 2003: Excellent Graduate Award of Peking University
  • 2000-2003: Yingcai Scholarship of Peking University
  • 2002: Excellence Award for fieldwork paper competition (China Reform Magazine)
  • 2001: Danish government stipend for Exchange Student at Denmark’s International Study Program (DIS) affiliated to Copenhagen University

China Research Center at Atlanta

Center for Asian Studies at University of Georgia

Authorit@rianism 2.0 at Institute of Political Science, Leiden University

Course Instruction
  • INTL 4360 East Asian Political Systems
  • INTL 8300 Chinese Politics
  • INTL 3300 Comparative Politics
  • INTL 8405 Digital Media and Comparative Politics
  • INTL 4665 Digital Media and Global Politics
  • INTL 4361  Chinese Politics
  • INTL 4666E The Politics of Cyber Security
Research Interests
  • Comparative Democratization
  • Media Politics
  • Social Activism
  • Politics of Authoritarian Regimes
  • Chinese Politics
Selected Publications



  • Contesting Cyberspace in China: Online Expression and Authoritarian Resilience (Columbia University Press, 2018).

Peer-Reviewed Journal Articles and Book Chapters

  • “Rescuing Authoritarian Rule: The Anti-Gongzhi Discourse in Chinese Cyberspace” (with Linan Jia), in Chris Shei (ed.) Routledge Handbook of Chinese Discourse Analysis (Routledge, 2019): 415-427.
  • “Patriotism without state blessing: Chinese cyber nationalists in predicament,” in Teresa Wright (ed.) Handbook of Dissent and Protest in China (Edward Elgar Publishing, 2019): 346-360.
  • “Withering Gongzhi: Cyber Criticism of Chinese Public Intellectuals,” The International Journal of Communication 12 (2018): 1966-1987.
  • “Governing by the Internet: Local Governance in the Digital Age” (with Linan Jia), Journal of Chinese Governance 3:1 (2018): 67-85. DOI: 10.1080/23812346.2018.1429175.
    • The article has also been included in Jianxing Yu and Sujian Guo (eds.) The Palgrave Handbook of Local Governance in Contemporary China (Macmillan, 2019): 421-440.
  • “Supervising Authoritarian Rule Online: Citizen Participation and State Responses in China,” The Journal of Comparative Law 12:2 (2017): 397-416.
  • “Challenging, But Not Trouble-Making: Cultural Elites in China’s Heritage Preservation” (with Yao Yuan). Journal of Contemporary China 25:98 (2016): 292-306. DOI:10.1080/10670564.2015.1075720
  • “Cyber Activism in China: Empowerment, Control, and Beyond,” in Axel Bruns, Eli Skogerbø, Christian Christensen, Anders Olof Larsson, and Gunn Sara Enli (eds.) The Routledge Companion to Social Media and Politics (Routledge, 2015): 292-306.
  • “Defending the Authoritarian Regime Online: China’s ‘Voluntary Fifty-Cent Army’,” China Quarterly, 224 (2015): 1006-1025. DOI: 10.1017/S0305741015001216.
  • “College Education and Attitudes toward Democracy in China: An Empirical Study” (with Gang Wang and Liyun Wu), Asia Pacific Education Review 16:3 (2015): 399-412.
  • “Manufacturing Consent in Cyberspace: China’s ‘Fifty-Cent Army’,” Journal of Current Chinese Affairs, 44: 2(2015), 105-134.
  • “Path to Democracy? Assessing Village Elections in China” (with Kevin J. O’Brien), Journal of Contemporary China 18:60 (2009), 359-378.
    • The article receives the 2018 John and Vivian Sabel Award of the best article published in the Journal of Contemporary China.
    • The article has been reprinted in Kevin O’Brien and Zhao Suisheng (eds.), Grassroots Elections in China (London: Routledge, 2011) and in Anthony Saich (ed.), Political Governance in China (Elgar, 2015). It is also translated in Guowai Lilun Dongtai (Foreign Theoretical Trends), 7 (2011): 59-70.


  •  Chinese Translation of W. Phillips Shively, The Craft of Political Research (6th Edition) (Prentice Hall Press, 2006) (with Jiguang Guo, Hengfu Ruan, Yuanyuan Wang, and Dan Li), (政治科学研究方法, W. Phillips Shively著, 新知译, 上海人民出版社, 2006).