Susan Ji



susan ji  photo




Susan Ji

DPhil candidate, Oxford School of Global and Area Studies



​​​​I am a doctoral student in Area Studies (China) at Wolfson College, University of Oxford. My research project examines the significance of ChinaAustralia relations in Chinese grand strategy through the prism of geopolitics. It is based on case studies of ChinaAustralia relations from 2012 to 2017.  I was born in China and grew up in New Zealand. Prior to my DPhil study, I received my BSc in Global China Studies (concentration in Politics) at the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (highest GPA) and my MSc in Contemporary China Studies at the University of Oxford. In addition to ChinaAustralia relations and AsiaPacific geopolitics, I also have secondary research interests in Hong Kong-Mainland relations, ChinaUS relations and Chinese theories of International Relations.

DPhil topic

'Interpreting China’s Grand Strategy: A Case Study of ChinaAustralia Relations in Xi Jinping’s First Term'

This research project will critically analyse China’s grand strategy, based on a case study of ChinaAustralia relations in Xi Jinping’s first presidential term (March 2013–March 2018). Since China’s commencement of market reforms in 1978, divergent opinions have emerged in academia on the nature of the country’s grand strategy. Most of the early literature argued that China’s grand strategy is to focus on domestic development whilst avoiding conflictual global affairs. However, many contend that in recent years, China has become a fundamentally revisionist power, whose grand strategy has become increasingly assertive and confrontational towards the global rules-based order. Engaging in this debate, the central research question of this project is: Does China’s grand strategy under Xi make the country a revisionist power that will challenge the existing international system led by the US and its allies? To contribute a hybrid perspective to this debate, this research aims to argue that Chinese grand strategy during this period manifests both status-quo and revisionist orientations. The central question, therefore, will be answered via three sub research questions: 1) What is China’s grand strategy? 2) How is the status-quo/revisionist hybridity of China’s grand strategy manifested through ChinaAustralia relations? 3) To what extent does the status-quo/revisionist hybridity of China’s grand strategy provide alternative perspectives to the China threat discourse within Australia? The analysis will be situated within the framework of the Power Transition Theory and Randall Schweller’s typology of state revisionism. Employing the methods of process-tracing, interviews and discourse analysis, this project will gather and examine empirical data from ChinaAustralia relations to achieve its research objectives.