Suzanne Scoggins, Ph.D.

Clark University

City: Boston, Massachusetts

Country: United States

About Me:

I am an assistant professor of political science at Clark University. My work focuses on policing in reform-era China and explores themes of local governance, bureaucratic policies, and authoritarian control. My articles have appeared in the China Quarterly, Asian Survey, and PS: Political Science and Politics. My research has also attracted attention from The Economist.  I received my PhD in political science from UC Berkeley in 2016, and am currently working on a book manuscript entitled Policing in the Shadow of Protest.

Research Interests

Asian Politics


Comparative Political Institutions

Crime Politics

Non-Democratic Regimes

Police Policy

Democratization And Authoritarianism

Power And Authority

Public Opinion

Countries of Interest


Hong Kong

My Research:

Why would police officers look the other way when criminals run from the scene of a crime? Why would an officer fix a broken lock in exchange for the victim calling to say she reported a break-in by mistake? My research investigates issues of front-line policing and security capacity in the People’s Republic of China. It probes the challenges faced by ground-level officers and their superiors at the Ministry of Public Security as they attempt to do their jobs in the face of funding limitations, reform challenges, and structural issues that complicate police response on the ground. To do so, I rely on interviews, station-level data, news reports, internal documents, and social media postings to understand how local policing in today’s China works. 

Media Appearances:

Newspaper Quotes:

(2018) New York Times

“The stories not only create a positive narrative about the victims, but their choice of professions also shows how the tragedy brought them closer to the state,” said Suzanne Scoggins, an assistant professor of political science at Clark University in Massachusetts. ... By reframing the quake anniversary as a day of thanksgiving, local officials are probably trying to forge an atmosphere of unity, reinforcing “the way in which government groups and residents worked together,” Professor Scoggins said.

(2018) Business Insider

"For frontline police, corruption is more a function of guanxi and gift-giving culture meeting opportunity. It's well known that you can use money, gifts, and connections to get things done, and the police are no exception," Suzanne Scoggins, an expert in Chinese policing at Clark University, told Business Insider.

(2016) The Economist

Such stresses are common across China, according to a new study by Suzanne Scoggins and Kevin O’Brien at the University of California, Berkeley. They argue that a policeman’s lot is “filled with uncertainty, hardship and feelings of powerlessness”. The authors conclude that one must “rethink the image” of the much-disliked police in China’s authoritarian state.

Blog Posts:

(2018) China Policy Institute: Analysis

Policing Public Relations in China

(2016) China Policy Institute: Analysis

Violence Against the Chinese Police