Su Yun Woo

Uncovering the facets of Chinese Politics, Citizen Participation, and Digital Governance

Having completed my doctoral studies at the Institute of Political Science at the University of Zurich (UZH) in 2020, I am going to be Assistant Professor in Public Governance and Transformation at the University of Twente in the Netherlands from August 2023 onward.I have acquired extensive research expertise and fieldwork experience focusing on local citizen participation (Participatory Budgeting), urban governance and democratic innovations. Going forward, I am pursuing a new research agenda of the intersection of technology and governance, still focusing on China, but also in a broader context.Beyond my academic activities, I am also supporting Social Equity and Participation Center, a NGO based in Chengdu, with their research needs, as well as providing ad-hoc advisory support for Pax Tecum, a diplomatic consultancy based in London.

Chinese politics|Digital Governance|citizen participation|democratic innovations|deliberation

Navigating the nuances and unpacking the variegated layers of the China Story

With all the current polarized and politicized discussions and debates about China, I truly believe that it is necessary to undertake a critical and nuanced analytical lens to study China. I am keen to explore, examine, and explicate insights into a multi-faceted and often misunderstood country that is poised to profoundly influence and change the world. Happy to further discuss about China, citizen participation and explore potential collaborations too.

Courses TaughtLevelYearWhere
Capstone Course on ‘‘Examining China Competence in Switzerland’’,MA2022, 2023University of Zurich
The Rise of China: Implications for International RelationsMA2021,2022University of Zurich
Democracy with Chinese CharacteristicsBA2021,2022University of Zurich
Political Development in Contemporary ChinaBA2016, 2018, 2020University of Zurich
Challenges of Urban Governance in Greater ChinaBA2020, 2021University of Zurich
Comparative Perspectives on Citizen Participation in Greater ChinaBA2017University of Zurich

  • Journal Articles

  • Dong, L., Woo, S. Y., & Kübler, D. (2022). The Chinese Public’s Perceptions of the European Union: Changes and Stability Revealed by 2010 and 2020 Surveys. Journal of Contemporary China, 1-19.

  • Wang, Z., & Woo, S. Y. (2021). Deliberative representation: how Chinese authorities enhance political representation by public deliberation. Journal of Chinese Governance, 1-33.

  • Woo, S. Y., & Kübler, D. (2020). Taking Stock of Democratic Innovations and Their Emergence in (unlikely) Authoritarian Contexts. Politische Vierteljahresschrift, 61(2), 335-355.

  • Kübler, D., Rochat, P. E., Woo, S. Y., & Van der Heiden, N. (2020). Strengthen governability rather than deepen democracy: why local governments introduce participatory governance. International Review of Administrative Sciences, 86(3), 409-426.

  • Book

  • Woo, S.Y. (2023) Deliberation with Chinese Characteristics: A Tale of Two Chinese Cities’ Participatory Budgeting Experiences. Taylor & Francis.

  • Book Chapters

  • Woo, S.Y. (2022) Personal Confession on the study of democracy. In Heyne, L. & Ewert, C. (eds.) PhD Confessions.

  • Xiaoqing Diana Lin, Anja Matwijkiw, Bronik Matwijkiw & SuYun Woo, China’s “Belt and Road Initiative”: A Research Study of a Multifaceted Policy, forthcoming in 20 Global Community Yearbook of International Law and Jurisprudence (Global Community YILJ) [Part 4: In Focus] (Giuliana Ziccardi Capaldo gen. ed., Oxford University Press, New York, USA, 2021).

  • Woo, S.Y. (2021) How has Democracy Changed Since Covid-19? The Perspective from China. In Heyne, L. & Ewert, C. (eds.) One Year with Covid-19. DemocracyNet

  • Report

  • Woo, S.Y., & Zhuang, Ming. Forthcoming. Right to Education in China through the lens of Migrant Children’s education in Chengdu. Global Platform for Right to the City Asia Research Project. Polis. Brazil.

  • Others

  • Woo, S. Y. (2022) ‘The OECD needs to learn from nondemocratic countries too’ in Resisting colonisation, avoiding tropicalisation: Deliberative wave in the Global South. Edited by N. Curato. Deliberative Democracy Digest. 3rd, May. Available at:

  • Woo, S.Y. ‘‘Participation with Chinese Characteristics: WeChat Participatory Budgeting in Chengdu’’- opinion blog post in 'Agora: Democracy Beyond the West, The Participatory and Deliberative Democracy Specialist Group of the Political Studies Association Website, 26/07/2021.

  • Woo, S.Y., ‘‘From danger to opportunity: transforming the pandemic predicament into a promising participatory opportunity at the local level in Chengdu’’, blog post on

  • Woo, S.Y. ‘‘Deliberation in an unexpected place’’ - China, opinion piece in Magazine of the Society of Switerland -China, 02/2020.

  • Work in Progress

  • Woo, S.Y, Dong, L.S, & Kübler, D. (2022) Now a Systemic Rival? Inklings of Complex Representations of the EU in Public Survey Data of Chinese Urban Residents. Forthcoming in Comparative European Politics Journal.

  • Wang, Z., & Woo, S.Y. Weaponizing China Research in the West. Submitted to Political Science and Politics Journal.

  • Ye, Z.P., Yin, C.Y., & Woo, S.Y. The PSA: Social accountability innovation within the CCP cadre management system. Work in Progress.

  • Woo,S.Y., & Zhuang, Ming. Bringing Deliberation to WeChat: Introduction of a new mode of PB in Chengdu and offering a framework of assessing deliberative quality. Work in Progress.

  • Wang, Z., & Woo, S.Y. Let the data speak: Big Data’s Role in Poverty Alleviation in rural China. Work in Progress.

INVITED TALKS & PRESENTATIONS(Apr 2023) Presentation, MPSA Conference, 'Let the data speak: Big Data's role in Poverty Alleviation in rural China.'(Oct 2022) Discussion, Democracy Reboot Webinar on Deliberative/Participatory Authoritarianism, Zoom(Sep 2022) Panel Discussion, Democracy in China and Russia, Athens Democracy(Sep 2022) Talk, Seminar at CSIC-IESA, Cordoba, Spain(Mar 2022) Discussant, launch of OECD's latest reports on evaluating and institutionalizing deliberative mini-publics, Zoom(Sep 2021) Guest Presentation, ‘This is Fine’ Democracy in Times of Crises workshop, Zoom(Aug 2021) Presentation,’Chinese perception of the EU’, ECPR, Zoom.(Mar 2021) Presentation, CITYMAKERS Global Village Meeting, Zoom(Oct 2020) Presentation at World Human Rights Cities Forum, Zoom(Nov 2019) Guest Lecture, Loyola University, Cordoba, Spain(Jun 2019) Presentation, DPDS Summer School, University of Lucerne, Switzerland(May 2019) Guest Lecture, China Normal West University, Nanchong, China(May 2019) Conference Presentation, International Conference on Innovations and Rural Revitalization, Nanchong, China(Jun 2018) Presentation, Turku Summer School of Deliberative Democracy, Finland(Oct 2018) Guest Presentation, Foraus Meeting, Switzerland(Dec 2018) Guest Lecture, Neuchatel University, Switzerland(Jan 2017) Conference Presentation, International conference on "Grassroots Deliberative Democracy" Nanchong, China(Sep 2016) Conference Presentation, Conference on Citizenship Participation in China and beyond, University of Zurich, Switzerland(Dec 2015) Conference Presentation, International Conference on Deliberative Democracy, Tianjin, ChinaMEDIA
• How democracy features in local Chinese politics, Swissinfo, November 23, 2022.
• With Ukraine War, Europe’s Democratic Project Takes on New Urgency, New York Times, October 6, 2022
• Interview: Citizen Participation in China. Mission Publiques., September 19, 2022
• Demokrati, der virker, Weekendavisen (in Danish), February 6, 2022
• Podcast on ‘Understanding China’ on Pax Tecum (Diplomatic Consultancy) website, October 11, 2021