Dr. Yu Tao

Dr. Yu Tao

Senior Lecturer in Asia Pacific Studies

School of Language and Global Studies

Adelphi Building, AB152

+44 (0) 1772 89 4511

Subject Areas: Languages and International Studies, Politics and International Relations, Sociology

Yu Tao jointed UCLan in September 2014 shortly before submitting his doctoral thesis to the University of Oxford, where he eventually received DPhil in Politics after passing his viva with no correction required. Trained as a political sociologist, Yu is mostly interested in making sense of the relations between social groups and contentious politics in authoritarian settings.

Yu is a member of the Asia Pacific Studies Research Group.

Full Profile


  • DPhil, Politics, University of Oxford, 2015
  • MPhil (with Distinction), Sociology, University of Cambridge, 2009
  • Dual BAs, Government & Sociology, Peking University, 2008

Yu Tao is Lecturer in Asia Pacific Studies at the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan), where he teaches Area Studies, Development Studies and social scientific research methods and leads the foundation programme at the School of Journalism, Media and Performance. Prior to the UCLan, Yu completed his doctoral project at the Department of Politics and International Relations in the University of Oxford, where he also designed and delivered undergraduate tutorial sessions on Chinese politics and research design.

Trained as a political sociologist, Yu’s primary academic mission is to make sense of the social foundations and mechanisms underlying politics. He is most interested in investigating and explaining the roles played by intermediate organisations in contentious politics, with a special focus on authoritarian countries. Yu’s doctoral research examines the heterogeneous correlation between religious groups and collective contention in contemporary rural China through the perspective of ‘the varieties of social capital’. His DPhil was defended with no corrections in February 2015.

Yu is a former Dahrendorf Scholar at St. Antony's College and a former China Oxford Scholar at Merton College. He is also a recipient of the Chinese Government Award for Outstanding Self-Financed Students Abroad. In addition to his academic publications on reputable English and Chinese journals, Yu has also published dozens of op-ed articles in newspapers and magazines.

Yu has published an article on The Conversation entitled ‘China’s leaders and citizens are losing patience with North Korea’.

For more information, please view Yu’s personal website.  


Tao, Yu. 2015. “Unlikely Friends of the Authoritarian and Atheist Ruler: Religious Groups and Collective Contention in Rural China”, Politics & Religion 8(01): 86-110.

Tao, Yu and Mingxing Liu. 2013. “Intermediate Associations, Grassroots Elites and Collective Petitioning in Rural China.” In Elites and Governance in China, edited by X. Zang and J. W. Kou. London: Routledge, 110-135.

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Course Leader for:

  • BA (Hons) Asia Pacific Studies

Module leader for:

  • AI1000: The Shaping of the Asia Pacific Region (Introduction to Asia Pacific Studies)
  • EB4201: Challenges to Global Development
  • EB4204: Research Methods

In addition to designing and delivering modules, Yu also supervises and marks BA and MA dissertations. He is also a member of the supervisor teams for several doctoral students.


  • American Political Science Association
  • Political Studies Association
  • European Association for Chinese Studies
  • Society for the Scientific Study of Religion


  • “Religious Groups, Varieties of Social Capital and Contentious Politics.” Paper presented at The 111th American Political Science Association Annual Meeting, San Francisco, 3 -6 September, 2015.
  • “Making Sense of the Varieties of Social Resistance in Non-Democracies.” Paper presented at The 65th Political Studies Association Annual International Conference, Sheffield, 30 March -1 April, 2015.
  • “Religious Groups, Varieties of Social Capitals, and Collective Contention in Contemporary Rural China.” Paper presented at The 64th Political Studies Association Annual International Conference, Manchester, 14-16 April, 2014.
  • "Social Capital as Depressants or Stimulants? Trust, Embeddedness, and the Relationship between Intermediate Associations and Collective Petitioning in Contemporary Chinese Villages." Paper presented at The 6th Asian Political and International Studies Association (APISA) Congress 2012: Policy and Politics in Changing Asia, Hong Kong, November 30-December 1, 2012.
  • "Recognizing Allies of the 'Harmonious Society': Intermediate associations and collective petitions in contemporary Chinese villages." Paper presented at The 61st Political Studies Association Annual Conference, London, April 19-21, 2011.