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Andrew Mertha

Andrew Mertha

Director of the SAIS China Global Research Center

George and Sadie Hyman Professor of China Studies


Andrew Mertha is the George and Sadie Hyman Professor of China Studies, Director of the China Studies Program, and Director of the SAIS China Global Research Center at the Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS). From 2019 to 2021, Mertha served as the Vice Dean for Faculty Affairs and International Research Cooperation at SAIS. He is formerly a professor of Government at Cornell University and an assistant professor of Political Science at Washington University in St. Louis.

Mertha specializes in Chinese bureaucratic politics, political institutions, and the domestic and foreign policy process. More recently, he has extended his research interests to include Cambodia. Mertha has written three books, The Politics of Piracy: Intellectual Property in Contemporary China (Cornell University Press, 2005), China’s Water Warriors: Citizen Action and Policy Change (Cornell University Press, 2008), and Brothers in Arms: Chinese Aid to the Khmer Rouge, 1975-1979 (Cornell University Press, 2014). He has articles appearing in The China Quarterly, Comparative Politics, International Organization, Issues & Studies, CrossCurrents, and Orbis. He has also contributed chapters to several edited volumes, including Engaging the Law in China: State, Society and Possibilities for Justice (edited by Neil Diamant, Stanley Lubman, and Kevin O’Brien, Stanford University Press, 2005); China’s Foreign Trade Policy: the New Constituencies (edited by Ka Zeng, Routledge, 2007); and State and Society in 21st Century China, 2nd Edition (edited by Peter Gries and Stanley Rosen, Routledge, 2010). His edited volume, May Ebihara’s Svay: A Cambodian Village, with an Introduction by Judy Ledgerwood (Cornell University Press/Cornell Southeast Asia Program Press) was published in 2018.

He has provided public testimony for the US-China Economic and Security Review Commission, briefed the Congressional-Executive Commission on China, and has accompanied a U.S. congressional staff delegation to Beijing, Xinjiang, and Shanghai to discuss issues of terrorism and narcotics trafficking. He has appeared on National Public Radio, the British Broadcasting Corporation, and Voice of America. Mertha’s comments have appeared in Time, the Washington Post, the International Herald Tribune, the Wall Street Journal, the Associated Press, the Los Angeles Times, BusinessWeek, the San Francisco Chronicle, and the Cambodia Daily.

Mertha is on the Editorial Committee for the Journal of Comparative Politics, The China Quarterly, and Asian Survey. He is vice president of the Center for Khmer Studies (CKS), a member of the National Committee on U.S.-China Relations, and an alumnus of the NCUSCR Public Intellectuals Program, 2008-2010. He received his PhD from the University of Michigan and is originally from New York City.



  • China
  • Cambodia


  • Bureaucracy
  • Institutions
  • Leninist Party Systems
  • Policy Making and Implementation
  • US-China Relations


  • Chinese (Mandarin)
  • French
  • Hungarian
  • Khmer

In the News

All eyes on the Biden-Xi (virtual) summit.

Andrew Mertha quoted in Politico, 11/04

Tsai meets AIT Director Oudkirk.

Andrew Mertha cited in Taipei Times, 08/11

Chinese nationalism is more than what you think.

Andrew Mertha cited in Asia Times, 07/27

Showtime for Xi as China's annual Congress opens.

Andrew Mertha quoted in Politico, 03/04

WHO team in Wuhan visits disease control centers.

Andrew Mertha quoted on Sinclair Broadcast Group, 02/01

Study suggests infections in Wuhan were much higher than originally reported.

Andrew Mertha quoted on Sinclair Broadcast Group, 12/30

Countdown to a vaccine.

Andrew Mertha interviewed on CBC Radio, 12/05

Translating China.

Andrew Mertha quoted in Politico, 12/03

The Wuhan files.

Andrew Mertha quoted on CNN, 11/30