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Research Fellow (GCAL) | PhD (SOAS) | MSc (LSE) | Chevening Scholar

 Specialism: Law, Politics and Human Rights in Hong Kong & China

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Dr. Yan-ho Lai, aka Eric, is research fellow at Georgetown Center for Asian Law (GCAL), a visiting researcher at the Dickson Poon School of Law of King's College London, an associate fellow at the Hong Kong Studies Hub of the University of Surrey, a co-convenor of Hong Kong Studies Association and a member of the Asian Civil Society Research Network. He received his Master’s degree from the London School of Economics and Political Science as a Chevening Scholar in 2013 and his Ph.D in law at SOAS University of London in 2022 respectively. His main research focuses on socio-legal studies, legal profession and judicial politics in hybrid and authoritarian regimes, as well as international human rights laws and practices. He also studies national security, social movement, contentious politics and electoral integrity in Hong Kong and China. Lai is formerly a visiting fellow at the Centre for Comparative and Public Law at the University of Hong Kong, and formerly received the Hong Kong Law fellowship at GCAL. Born and raised in Hong Kong, Lai has been involved in civil society development and human rights advocacy since 2010. He writes on law and politics, electoral integrity, judicial activism, international human rights, and religious freedom in academic journals, newspapers, and popular literature.

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The Rule of Law

The Hong Kong 2019 Protest Movement: A Data Analysis of Arrests and Prosecutions

Jun Chan, Eric Yan-ho Lai & Thomas E. Kellogg (2023). The Hong Kong 2019 Protest Movement: A Data Analysis of Arrests and Prosecutions. Center for Asian Law, Georgetown University.

Judicial Politics

Securitisation or Autocratisation? Hong Kong’s Rule of Law under the Shadow of China’ Authoritarian Governance

Lai, Y. (2023). Securitisation or Autocratisation? Hong Kong’s Rule of Law under the Shadow of China’ Authoritarian Governance. Journal of Asian and African Studies, vol. 58 (1), pp.8-25.

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Collective Action

Authoritarian Crackdown Without Bloodshed: China’s Securitization in Post-NSL Hong Kong

Lai, Yan-ho (2023), "Authoritarian Crackdown Without Bloodshed: China’s Securitization in Post-NSL Hong Kong" in Wei-chin Lee (ed) Protests, Pandemic, and Security Predicaments: Hong Kong, Taiwan, China, and the US in the 2020s, Palgrave MacMillan, pp.75-117.

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Autocratization of Law and Courts in Hong Kong: Origin, Process and Response)
University of Tokyo, 5-2023)


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Academic Publication

(2022)"Departure from International Human Rights Law and Comparative Best Practice: HKSAR v Tong Ying Kit" Hong Kong Law Journal, Vol. 52, Part 2, pp.466 - 486. (with Thomas E. Kellogg)

(2022) "A ‘Leader-full’ Movement Under Authoritarianism: Mobilization Networks in Hong Kong’s Anti-Extradition Movement” in Anthony J. Spires and Akihiro Ogawa (eds), Authoritarianism and Civil Society in Asia, Routlegde, chapter 1.

(2022) A “leaderless but leader-full” movement: Social mobilisation in the 2019 Hong Kong protests (2022) in Amy Barrow and Sara Fuller (eds), Activism and Authoritarian Governance in Asia, Routledge, Chapter 10​.

(2022) Review: Dictatorship by Degrees: Xi Jinping in China by Steven P. Feldman. China Information, first published online, June17.

(2022) Review: Sunflowers and Umbrellas: Social Movements, Expressive Practices, and Political Culture in Taiwan and Hong Kong: By Thomas Gold and Sebastian Veg.  The Journal of Development Studies, ahead-of-print, 29 May.

(2022). “From Rule of Law to Rule by Fear: An Annual Review of the National Security Law in Hong Kong” in Joseph Yu-shek Cheng, Torbjörn Lodén and Larissa Stünkel (eds), Politics in East Asia Today: Between Democracy, Debates, and Discourse (Special Paper). Stockholm: Institute for Security and Development Policy, pp. 17-27.


(2020). "Solidarity and Implications of a Leaderless Movement in Hong Kong: Its Strengths and Limitations" , Communist and Post Communist Studies, Vol. 53, No.4, pp.41-67 . (with Ming Sing)

(2020). “Discernment of Spirits and Pastoral Circle in Social Movement: A Theological Reflection on Hong Kong’s Anti-extradition Movement” Hong Kong Journal of Catholic Studies Vol.11, pp.138-191.


(2019). “Lady Justice or The Golden Calf? The ‘China Factor’ in Hong Kong’s Legal System” Social Transformation of Chinese Societies, 15:2, pp. 178-96.

Policy / Public-facing Publication

(2023) "Hong Kong’s Legal War on a Protest Anthem" The Diplomat, 1 August. 


(2023) "Hong Kong Is Trying to Salvage Its Image. Who Is It Fooling?" The Diplomat, 27 March.

(2023) "Hong Kong’s Democratic Primary Trials Show a Dark Truth" The Diplomat, 4 February.

(2022) "Judicial repression becomes the norm in Hong Kong" East Asian Forum, 26 October.

(2022) "The Hong Kong Government and the Rule of Law" The Diplomat, 7 July.

(2022) "Hong Kong’s Handover 25 Years on: Why Human Rights Eroded So Dramatically in the Past Two Years" The Conversation, 29 June. 

(2022) "Eric Lai: Hong Kong 25 Years after Handover" LSE IDEAS China Foresight, 20 June. 

(2022) "Arrest Data Show National Security Law Has Dealt a Hard Blow to Free Expression in Hong Kong" ChinaFile, 5 April 2022 (with Thomas E. Kellogg)

(2022) "Hong Kong: British judges leaving top court is a strong condemnation of the end of civil liberties" The Conversation, 4 April.


(2022) "Foreign Judges Are Enabling Hong Kong’s Legal Crackdown" The Diplomat, 11 February. 

(2022) "Hong Kong: How Colonial-era Laws Are Being Used to Shut Down Independent Journalism" The Conversation, 10 January. (with Yuen Chan)

(2021) “NSL Verdict a Major Blow to Free Speech in Hong KongLawfare, 19 November. (with Thomas E. Kellogg)

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

(2021) 《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, ISBN: 9789865540654

(In Traditional Chinese). 

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