Skip navigation

Andrew Mertha

George and Sadie Hyman Professor of China Studies

Director of the China Studies Program

  • +1 (202) 663-7720
  • Campus Location: Washington DC
  • Office Location: Rome 612


Andrew Mertha is the George and Sadie Hyman Professor of China Studies, Director of the China Program, and Director of SAIS China at the Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies (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 US 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 US-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

Staring into Hong Kong's future today.

Andrew Mertha wrote in The Hill, 11/19

Chinese diplomats must notify Washington of meetings with state or local officials

Andrew Mertha interviewed in South China Morning Post, 10/17

Thoughts on Current China–US Relations

Ambassador Cui Tiankai, a Johns Hopkins SAIS alumnus, returned to campus to share insights on current trends in the China-US relationship, which he emphasized is the most consequential bilateral relationship in today's world.

In China, 2019 is not 1989.

Andrew Mertha wrote in The Hill, 9/14

Amid souring relations, U.S. appoints experienced Asia diplomat to Cambodia.

Andrew Mertha quoted on Voice of America Cambodia, 8/15

Hong Kong waits for Beijing’s next move. Here’s what the experts say.

Andrew Mertha wrote in The Washington Post Monkey Cage blog, 8/15

The courage to back down in Hong Kong.

Andrew Mertha wrote in The Hill, 8/14

Cambodia: Holding our noses for the greater good.

Andrew Mertha wrote in The Hill, 7/28

Ambassador to U.S. makes Twitter debut.

Andrew Mertha quoted in China Daily, 7/10