Hong Kong Law Fellow  (Georgetown) | PhD Candidate (SOAS) | MSc (LSE) | Chevening Scholar



Researcher in Law and Politics | Analyst in Politics, Human Rights and Law in Hong Kong

I was born and grew up in Hong Kong. I decided to study political science in 2008 since I have been enthusiastic in democratic development of Hong Kong after joining the 500,000+ people's march in 2003. I started to engage in social movements of Hong Kong since 2009. I became the President of Student Union in CUHK and the Convenor of Civil Human Rights Front as an undergraduate student. In 2012, I received Chevening Postgraduate Scholarship to study a master's degree in political sociology at London School of Economics and Political Science in 2012/13. Few years after teaching and assisting research in higher education institutes, I began my doctoral studies at SOAS University of London since 2017. Apart from my academic pursuit, I have not ceased to engage in human rights advocacy in Hong Kong. By joint efforts with scholars and activists, I co-founded “Hong Kong Election Observation Project”. I also contribute to opinion columns in local newspaper and serve as a commentator on public affairs and human rights issues in media. I am currently serving the Center for Asian Law in Georgetown University Law Center as the Hong Kong Law Fellow.


Articles, Books and Policy Reports

My doctoral research focuses on the dynamics of legal transplant and legal professionalism in authoritarian regimes. I also study law and politics, social movement, contentious politics and electoral integrity in Hong Kong and China.

Contentious Politics

Solidarity and Implications of a Leaderless Movement in Hong Kong: Its Strengths and Limitations

The Rule of Law

Lady Justice or the Golden Calf? The “China Factor” in Hong Kong's Legal System

Lai, Y. (2019), "Lady Justice or the golden calf? The “China factor” in Hong Kong’s legal system", Social Transformations in Chinese Societies, Vol. 15 No. 2, pp. 178-196. https://doi.org/10.1108/STICS-01-2019-0005


New Publications


《破解香港的威權法治: 傘後與反送中以來的民主運動》[Unravelling Authoritarian Rule of Law in Hong Kong:

From Post-Umbrella Resistance to the Anti-Extradition Bill Protests] Taiwan: Showwe Information, 2021 (In Traditional Chinese). 

"Hong Kong's Sedition Law is Back" The Diplomat, 3 September 2021. 

2021. “Hong Kong Democracy Protester’s Sentencing Sets a Harsh Precedent for National Security LawThe Conversation, 30 July 2021.

"Hong Kong’s National Security Law and the Right to a Fair Trial: Mission Impossible?" Lawfare, 15 July 2021 (Co-authored with Thomas E. Kellogg).

Ask the Experts: Has Democracy in Hong Kong Come to an End?LSE IDEAS: China Dialogues, 26 May 2021.

Selected Conference Presentations


2021. “Authoritarian Legal Transplant and Judicial Independence in Sub-national Governance: The Case of Hong Kong” Paper to be presented at the International Society of Public Law Conference 2021 (Virtual Meeting), 9th July 2021.

2020. “Professional Resistance and Lawyers’ Activism: Cause Lawyering in Hong Kong’s Anti-extradition Protest 2019” Paper to be presented at Law and Society Association Annual Conference 2020. University of Denver.



Email address: yl1445@georgetown.edu