MunkSchool_310517__LynetteOng_25063Welcome to my home page!

I am an associate professor of political science at the University Of Toronto. I am jointly appointed at the Department of Political Science and the Munk School of Global Affairs and Public Policy Asian Institute.

Administrative positions I have held at the Munk School included Director of Munk School China Initiative, Acting Director of the Contemporary Asian Studies Program (2012-14), and Director of East Asia Seminar Series (2012-2015; 2017-2020) at the Asian Institute.

I think and write about authoritarianism, contention, and politics of development.

China is my primary regional specialization. I have also written about Southeast Asia (Singapore and Malaysia) and India.

I was An Wang Postdoctoral Fellow at Harvard University’s Fairbank Center for Chinese Studies in 2008-09. I have held visiting positions at Harvard University’s Weatherhead Center for International Affairs, and other universities in Asia.

My first book, Prosper or Perish: Credit and Fiscal Systems in Rural China was published by Cornell University Press in 2012. It is among the first in the field to highlight the perils of mounting local government debt and non-sustainability of the “China model”. Written in the late 2000s, the book underscores many political-economic issues currently facing China, such as rising debt levels, and over-reliance on banking resources to finance local infrastructure spending.

My journal publications have appeared in Perspectives on Politics, Comparative Politics, International Political Science Review, Political Studies, China Quarterly, China Journal, Journal of Contemporary Asia, among others.

My opinion pieces have appeared in a range of informed outlets, including Foreign Affairs, Foreign Policy, Washington Post, LA Times, Globe & Mail, South China Morning Post, East Asia Forum, among others. I regularly provide expert commentaries on issues of my expertise. I have been invited to give testimony before the US-China Economic and Security Review Commission on China’s Banking System and Access to Credit” and the Canada House of Commons Special Committee on Canada-China Relations on Hong Kong.

I received my PhD from the Australian National University, which has a long-standing history of training sinologists, and edits The China Journal, one of the leading journals in the field. I have an MA in Development Economics from Sussex University in the UK.

My research is funded by Social Science and Humanities Research Council, Connaught, Chiang Ching-Kuo Foundation, Association of Asian Studies, and International Centre for Tax and Development.

I am a native speaker of Mandarin Chinese. I am conversant in Bahasa Malaysia, Bahasa Indonesia, and numerous Chinese dialects.

I welcome enquiries from students who are interested in the theoretical issues of authoritarian politics, contentious politics, and the political economy of development. Regardless of the region you plan to study, I am interested to hear your perspectives.