Zhiyu Li (co-authored with Benjamin M. Chen)

Zhiyu Li is an Assistant Professor in Chinese law at Durham Law School. She received her J.S.D. from the University of California Berkeley, where she served as a teaching assistant for the Legal Research and Writing course. Prior to joining the Durham law faculty, she was a Hauser Post-Doctoral Global Fellow at New York University School of Law. Zhiyu’s research interests center on public law and comparative law. She writes at the intersection of law and policy, with a particular emphasis on the role of the courts in the administrative state. Her scholarly work employs both qualitative and quantitative methods and has appeared in U.S. and international journals.

Designation: Durham Law School
Institution: Durham Law School
Paper: The Influence of Courts on Public Opinion in China: Evidence from A Survey Experiment
Abstract: "Can the Chinese Supreme People’s Court persuade the masses? This empirical question has received little attention from scholars studying the Chinese judiciary but is important for our understanding of the Court’s role in governing and administering modern China. To answer this question, we field a survey experiment that seeks to measure the persuasiveness of judicial vis-à-vis administrative and non-regulatory actors in the Chinese party-state. We find that while Chinese courts can sometimes induce support for the policies they endorse, this capacity is not unique to them and is at least equaled by other governmental entities. These results suggest that the Chinese judiciary does not have the political leverage to challenge powerful state organs. While the Chinese Supreme People’s Court may have developed its own institutional priorities and agenda, we should expect it to behave as it has always done before: cautiously, clandestinely, and incrementally."