Welcome! I am a political scientist and professor of government at Cornell University, as well as an editor at the Washington Post Monkey Cage blog and a non-resident senior associate at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. I am currently serving as senior advisor to the Secretary's policy planning staff at the U.S. Department of State, while on sabbatical from Cornell as a Council on Foreign Relations International Affairs Fellow for Tenured IR Scholars (IAF-TIRS).
I study Chinese politics and foreign relations with an emphasis on nationalism and public opinion, focusing on the connection between domestic politics and international relations.
My first book, Powerful Patriots: Nationalist Protest in China's Foreign Relations (Oxford University Press, August 2014), examined how the Chinese Communist Party has managed nationalist, anti-foreign protests, tracing the government's repression and facilitation of grassroots mobilization as a means of conveying reassurance and resolve.
My current book project, A World Safe for Autocracy: The Domestic Politics of China's Foreign Policy (under contract, Oxford University Press), looks at how domestic politics and regime insecurity shape China’s foreign policy. Beneath Xi Jinping’s grand slogans of a “Chinese dream” and a “shared future for humankind,” there is significant variation how China conducts itself on the world stage. A World Safe for Autocracy explains the variation in China’s “a la carte” approach to world politics using a new theoretical framework that draws upon two domestic dimensions of authoritarian rule. The first factor – centrality – describes how closely an authoritarian government like China sees an issue affecting its survival prospects and the core pillars of its legitimacy. The second factor – contestation – describes the degree of domestic polarization and division on a given issue. Far from a “Beijing consensus,” the Chinese government must grapple with domestic debates and divisions, over everything from when and how to use force in China’s territorial disputes, to how ambitiously to pursue climate solutions at short-term costs to economic growth.
News and updates
"Avoiding ideological conflict with Beijing: Thomas Pepinsky and Jessica Chen Weiss," Sinica podcast, July 15, 2021.
"The Clash of Systems? Washington Should Avoid Ideological Competition With Beijing," Foreign Affairs, June 11, 2021 (with Tom Pepinsky).
"Domestic politics, China's rise, and the future of the liberal international order," new article in International Organization (with Jeremy Wallace).
Review essay in Foreign Affairs, "The stories China tells: the new historical memory reshaping Chinese nationalism," March/April 2021.
"China's leaders say that Biden offers a 'new window of hope.' Their experts are more skeptical," blog post in the Washington Post Monkey Cage, January 21, 2021 (with Kacie Miura).
“Nationalism and the Domestic Politics of Chinese Foreign Policy: Lessons for the United States,” policy paper for the Penn project on the Future of US-China relations, September 2020.
"America, Don't Try to Out-China China," New York Times, September 2, 2020 (with Ali Wyne).
"Beijing's self-defeating nationalism: Brazen diplomacy and rhetorical bluster undercut Beijing's influence," Foreign Affairs, July 16, 2020.
"No 'Beijing Consensus': Why the U.S. risks a Pyrrhic victory in confronting China," essay in SupChina, June 29, 2020.
"How coronavirus changes the political outlook in China and the U.S.," blog post in the Washington Post Monkey Cage, April 23, 2020.
"China's coronavirus statistics aren't the real problem," op-ed in the Los Angeles Times, April 9, 2020 (with Jeremy L. Wallace).
Citizens and the State in Authoritarian Regimes: Comparing China and Russia (Oxford University Press) now available for pre-order. Use promo code ASFLYQ6 to save 30%.
"Understanding and rolling back digital authoritarianism," in War on the Rocks, February 17, 2020.
"Ours will no longer be a nation subject to insult and humiliation," op-ed in the New York Times Sunday Review, September 29, 2019.
"Authoritarian Audiences, Rhetoric, and Propaganda in International Crises: Evidence from China," article in International Studies Quarterly (paywall free here)
"Campaign rhetoric and Chinese reactions to new leaders," article in Asian Security
"A World Safe for Autocracy? China's Rise and the Future of Global Politics," essay in Foreign Affairs (July/August 2019).
Testimony before the U.S. House Intelligence Committee hearing on "China's Digital Authoritarianism," May 16, 2019. Write up in the Cornell Chronicle.
"What's the response in China to the trade war?" in the Washington Post Monkey Cage blog, May 15, 2019.
"No, China and the U.S. aren't locked in an ideological battle. Not even close." in the Washington Post Monkey Cage blog, May 4, 2019.
"How hawkish is the Chinese public? Another look at “rising nationalism” and Chinese foreign policy" now out in the Journal of Contemporary China
New paper showing that concerted US pressure influenced China's RMB policy in Review of International Political Economy
Anti-Japanese protests have adverse consequences for political promotion and attracting foreign investment in China's cities, in China Quarterly
Delighted to join the Washington Post Monkey Cage blog as an editor covering China and Asia
"China and the Future of World Politics," review essay in Perspectives on Politics
"Will China Test Trump? Lessons From Past Campaigns and Elections" in The Washington Quarterly
"Here's what China's people really think about the South China Sea" in the Washington Post Monkey Cage, July 14, 2016.
"Nationalist Protests, Government Responses, and The Risk of Escalation in Interstate Disputes" now out in Security Studies
"Putting concepts into practice: a call for measuring and explaining variation in
Chinese nationalism," contribution to Nations and Nationalism roundtable
New collaborative project, China’s Cities: Divisions and Plans, awarded for 2016-2019
"Circumstances, Domestic Audiences, and Reputational Incentives in International Crisis Bargaining" now out in the Journal of Conflict Resolution
Testimony before the House Foreign Relations Subcommittee on Asia and the Pacific, Hearing on Reviewing President Xi's State Visit, October 7, 2015. (Full text of statement)
New York Times Q&A with Edward Wong, "Jessica Chen Weiss on Nationalism in Chinese Politics," September 24, 2015.
"The Political Geography of Nationalist Protest in China: Cities and the 2012 Anti-Japanese Demonstrations" now out in The China Quarterly
Foreign Affairs review by Andrew Nathan, Jan/Feb 2015
Financial Times review by Richard McGregor, November 2, 2014
China Digital Times interview, October 27, 2014
Powerful Patriots book launch and panel discussion at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, October 6, 2014
Washington Post op-ed, September 30, 2014
ChinaFile interview, Asia Society, September 4, 2014