Anna Lisa Ahlers

Associate Professor - China Korea Studies
Norwegian version of this page
Phone +47-22856857
Room 342
Visiting address P.A. Munchs hus 3rd floor Niels Henrik Abels vei 36 0371 Oslo
Postal address Postboks 1010 Blindern 0315 OSLO

NB: from fall 2018 - fall 2019 I will be on leave (and at the University of Chicago) 

Academic Interests

  • China's political system
  • Local administration, policy implementation and governance in China
  • Rural transformation and urbanization in China
  • Air pollution regulation, environmental governance
  • Greater China, notions of "Chineseness"
  • Political inclusion and exclusion
  • Comparative research on authoritarianism


Higher education and employment history

  • 2014-  Associate Professor in Modern Chinese Society and Politics, University of Oslo
  • 2013-2014  Deputy director of the research group "Politics and International Affairs", Mercator Institute for China Studies (Merics), Berlin   
  • 2013  Postdoctoral fellow, Forum Internationale Wissenschaft (FIW), Department of Comparative Research on Democracies, University of Bonn
  • 2013  Ph.D. (Dr. phil.) in China Studies, University of Tübingen
  • 2011-2012  Doctoral fellow (grant), Institute of Political Science at Academia Sinica (IPSAS), Taipei
  • 2008-2013  Junior lecturer and researcher, Institute of Asian and Oriental Studies, Greater China Studies, University of Tübingen
  • 2007-2008  Greater China assistant to the CEO in a strategy consultancy bureau, Frankfurt
  • 2007  M.A. in Sinology and Political Science (International Relations), University of Tübingen
  • 2006-2007  Hermann Hesse scholarship, Renmin University of China


  • Member, Junge Akademie - Berlin-Brandenburg Academy of Sciences and Humanities and the German National Academy of Sciences Leopoldina (since June 2017)
  • Permanent Visiting Fellow, Forum Internationale Wissenschaft (FIW), University of Bonn, joint project
  • Senior Policy Fellow for Chinese Domestic Politics, Mercator Institute for China Studies (Merics)
  • Visiting Research Fellow, Environmental & Energy Policy Center, Zhejiang University (Hangzhou, China)

Memberships and appointments

Academic profiles and social media

Tags: China, Politics, Political regime, Society, Greater China region



Selected peer-reviewed articles and other publications:

  • forthcoming 2018: guest editor of the "Special Issue - Chinese Governance in the Era of 'Top-level Design'", Journal of Chinese Governance, vol. 3, no. 3; therein: "Introduction: Chinese Governance in the Era of 'Top-level Design'"; and (with Shen Yongdong) "Local Environmental Governance Innovation in China: Staging ‘Triangular Dialogues’ for Industrial Air Pollution Control".   
  • 2018 (with Shen Yongdong): "Breathe Easy? Local Nuances of Authoritarian Environmentalism in China’s Battle against Air Pollution", The China Quarterly, no. 234, 299-319. 
  • 2018 (with Gunter Schubert): "Local Cadre Elites and Policy Implementation in Contemporary China" in Yingjie Guo (ed.) Local Elites in Post-Mao China. London: Routledge, 17-38.
  • 2017: invited book review - "Ma Jun, 'The Economics of Air Pollution in China: Achieving Better and Cleaner Growth', New York: Columbia University Press, 2017", The China Quarterly, no. 231, 814-815.  
  • 2017 (with Rudolf Stichweh): "The Bipolarity of Democracy and Authoritarianism: Value Patterns, Inclusion Roles and Forms of Internal Differentiation of Political Systems", FIW Working Paper, no. 9.  
  • 2017 (with Mette Halskov Hansen): "Air Pollution: How Will China Win its Self-Declared War Against it?" in Eva Sternfeld (ed.) Routledge Handbook of Environmental Policy in China. London: Routledge, 83-96.
  • 2016 (with Yu Jianxing): Comment on "What Does Xi Jinping’s Top-Down Leadership Mean for Innovation in China?" in Asia Society (ed.) ChinaFile Conversation (blog) - 26. October, New York. 
  • 2016 (with Matthias Stepan): "Local Politics in Times of Political Centralisation: Top-level Design and Local-level Paralysis", in Sebastian Heilmann and Matthias Stepan (eds.), China's Core Executive: Policies, Structures and Processes under Xi Jinping. Berlin: MERICS Paper on China, no. 1, pp 34-39.
  • 2016 (with Mette Halskov Hansen): “Kinas Luftforurensning – Kimen til sosial og politisk forandring?” (China’s air pollution: Seed of social and political change?) in Norsk Klimastiftelse (Norwegian Climate Foundation) (ed.) Kinas Grønne Revolusjon. Oslo: NKS Rapport no. 4, pp. 23-26. 
  • 2016 (with Thomas Heberer and Gunter Schubert): "Whither Local Governance in Contemporary China? Reconfiguration for More Effective Policy Implementation", Journal of Chinese Governance, vol. 1, no. 1, pp. 55-77.
  • 2015: "How the Sky over the Ruhr Became Blue Again. Or: A German Researcher’s Optimism about China’s Opportunities to Tackle the Problem of Air Pollution", essay, Chinese translation (鲁尔区“变回蓝天”对北京的启示) published in《小康》Xiaokang (Insight China), no. 23, November; online:
  • 2015 (with Gunter Schubert): "Effective Policy Implementation in China’s Local State", Modern China, vol. 41, no. 4, pp. 372- 405.
  • 2015: "Weaving the Chinese Dream on the Ground? Local Government Approaches to 'New-Typed' Rural Urbanization", Journal of Chinese Political Science, vol. 20, no. 2, pp. 121-142.
  • 2014: "Lokales Regieren und administrative Interessenvermittlung in China", in Hubert Heinelt (ed.), Modernes Regieren in China. Baden-Baden: Nomos, pp. 89-115.
  • 2013 (with Gunter Schubert): "Strategic Modelling: ‚Building of a New Socialist Countryside‘ in Three Chinese Counties", The China Quarterly, no. 216, pp. 831-849.
  • 2012 (with Gunter Schubert): "County and Township Cadres as a Strategic Group: ‚Building a New Socialist Countryside‘ in Three Provinces" in The China Journal, no. 67, pp. 67-86.
  • 2011 (with Gunter Schubert): "’Adaptive Authoritarianism’ in Contemporary China: Identifying Zones of Legitimacy Building" in Deng Zhenglai und Guo Sujian (eds), Reviving Legitimacy: Lessons for and from China. Lanham: Rowman & Littlefield, pp. 61-81.
  • 2009 (with Gunter Schubert): "Building a New Socialist Countryside – Only a Political Slogan?", Journal of Current Chinese Affairs, vol. 38, no. 4, pp. 35-62.
  • 2006: "Environmental Mediation" in Suwit Laohasiriwong and Ang Ming-Chee (eds), Natural Resources Related Conflict Management in Southeast Asia. Khon Kaen: Siriphan Press, pp. 223-239.

In preparation:

  • submitted (with Rudolf Stichweh): "Global Lines of Democracy and Autocracy: Studying Political Inclusion in World Society". In Andreas Leutzsch (ed.), After the Leviathan? About the Creation of Global Lines of Politics and Polity After the Age of Extremes
  • submitted (with Gunter Schubert): "Elections and Post-election Governance in China’s Villages and Townships". In Heather Xiaoquan Zhang and Qian Forrest Zhang (eds.), Routledge Handbook of Rural China. London: Routledge.
  • submitted: "让蓝天重新绽放:德国鲁尔区的空气污染与治理" (Let a blue sky shine again: Air pollution governance in the German Ruhr area). In Liu Zhaohui (ed.), 空气污染启示录 (Captivating accounts of air pollution), Hangzhou: Zhejiang University Press.
  • submitted (with Thomas Heberer and Gunter Schubert): "Local Governance in China's Political System: Explaining the Critical Role of Local Governance in China’s Authoritarian State".

View all works in Cristin

  • Ahlers, Anna Lisa (2017). "The Bipolarity of Democracy and Authoritarianism: Value Patterns, Inclusion Roles and Forms of Internal Differentiation of Political Systems", FIW Working Paper, no. 9. 2017 (with Rudolf Stichweh). FIW, University of Bonn.  ISBN 978-3-946306-08-5.  31 s.
  • Ahlers, Anna Lisa (2014). Rural Policy Implementation in Contemporary China. New Socialist Countryside. Routledge.  ISBN 978-0-415-71846-2.  272 s.

View all works in Cristin

  • Ahlers, Anna Lisa & Schubert, Gunter (2018). Local Cadre Elites and Policy Implementation in Contemporary China, In Yingjie Guo (ed.),  Local Elites in Post-Mao China.  Taylor & Francis.  ISBN 978-0815361169.  1..  s 17 - 38
  • Ahlers, Anna Lisa (2017, 28. desember). Kina rangerer borgere i nytt overvåkningssystem.  Vårt Land.
  • Ahlers, Anna Lisa (2017, 03. desember). Something’s in the air as environment becomes new battleground for China’s cadres.  South China Morning Post.
  • Ahlers, Anna Lisa (2017). invited book review - "Ma Jun, 'The Economics of Air Pollution in China: Achieving Better and Cleaner Growth', New York: Columbia University Press, 2017". The China Quarterly.  ISSN 0305-7410.  (231), s 814- 815 . doi: /10.1017/S0305741017001138
  • Ahlers, Anna Lisa (2016, 14. november). "Kina kommer til å legge press på Trump", Tor Arne Andreassen.  Aftenposten.
  • Ahlers, Anna Lisa (2016, 26. oktober). What Does Xi Jinping’s Top-Down Leadership Mean for Innovation in China? (med Yu Jianxing). [Internett].  ChinaFile Conversation.
  • Hansen, Mette Halskov & Ahlers, Anna Lisa (2016). Kinas luftforurensning – kimen til sosial og politisk forandring?. Energi og Klima : Norsk klimastiftelses nettmagasin.
  • Ahlers, Anna Lisa (2015). 鲁尔区“变回蓝天”对北京的启示 (Title of English version: "How the Sky over the Ruhr Became Blue Again - Or: A German researcher’s optimism about China’s opportunities to tackle the problem of air pollution"). 小康 Xiaokang (Insight China).  ISSN 1672-4879.  (23)
  • Ahlers, Anna Lisa (2014, 30. september). Beijing strammer grepet.  Dagsavisen.
  • Ahlers, Anna Lisa (2014, 29. september). Hongkong: Proteste der Studenten in China - Im Zeichen des Regenschirms. [Radio].  detektor fm - internet radio.
  • Ahlers, Anna Lisa (2014, 28. oktober). Krever å få møte Kinas statsminister. I et hav av paraplyer ble det i dag servert et nytt krav fra demonstrantene Hongkong: Samtaler med Li Keqiang. [Internett].  NRK.

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Published May 5, 2014 4:08 PM - Last modified July 12, 2018 12:35 PM