Faculty of Social Sciences
Professor John P Burns
Professor John P Burns
MA (Oxon), PhD (Col), FHKAH

Tel: (852) 3917 1201
Fax: (852) 2517 0806
Email: jpburns@hku.hk


Brief Biography

John P Burns is Dean of Social Sciences and Chair Professor of Politics and Public Administration at The University of Hong Kong. He obtained undergraduate degrees from St. Olaf College and Oxford University and a Ph.D. in political science specializing in China from Columbia University. His early research focused on political participation rural China during the Cultural Revolution. More recently he has focused on public administration in China, including Hong Kong, specializing in public sector human resource management, civil service reform, party-government relations, and public sector reform. His most recent book is Government Capacity and the Hong Kong Civil Service (Oxford, 2004 and 2010). He is the author or editor of eight books, and his articles have appeared in The China Quarterly, Journal of Contemporary China, Pacific Affairs, International Review of Administrative Sciences and Public Administration and Development. He is Associate Editor of Administration and Society and was a member of the Editorial Committee of The China Quarterly until 2011.


1971-79 Columbia University, USA
MA, PhD in Political Science
East Asian Institute Certificate

1969-71 Oxford University, UK
BA/MA in Politics, Philosophy and Economics

1965-69 St. Olaf College, USA
BA in Political Science and History

Academic Career

2011-present The University of Hong Kong
Faculty of Social Sciences

Chair Professor
Dean of Social Sciences

1977-2011 The University of Hong Kong
Graduate School
Associate Dean (2002-09)

Department of Politics and Public Administration
Chair Professor (1995-present)
Reader (1990-95)

Department of Political Science
Senior Lecturer (1985-90)
Lecturer (1979-85)
Demonstrator (1977-79)

1976-77 University of Michigan
Department of Political Science
Lecturer (part-time)


Selected Publications

"The Impact of External Change on Civil Service Values in Post-Colonial Hong Kong" (with Li Wei) The China Quarterly No. 222 (June 2015), pp. 522-546.

"The Political Economy of Chinese Food Safety Regulation: Distributing Adulterated Milk Powder in Mainland China and Taiwan" (with Li Jing and Wang Xiaoqi) in Tetty Havinga, Frans van Waarden, and Donal Casey (eds.) The Changing Landscape of Food Governance (Cheltenham: Edward Elgar, 2015), 96-116.

"Arrangements for Managing the Public Work-force" (with Wang Xiaoqi) in OECD, OECD Urban Policy Reviews: China, 2015 (Paris: OECD, 2015), pp. 211-219.

"Changing Government Structures and the Evolution of Public Service Bargains in Hong Kong" (with Li Wei and B. Guy Peters) International Review of Administrative Sciences 2013: 79: 131-48.

"Civil Service Reform in China: Impacts on Civil Servants' Behavior" (with Wang Xiaoqi) The China Quarterly No. 201 (March 2010), 58-78.

"Administrative Reform in Hong Kong: An Institutional Analysis of Food Safety" Research in Public Policy Analysis and Management 17 (2008), 21-38.

"Explaining Civil Service Reform in Asia," in Jos C.N. Raadschelders, Theo A.J. Toonen, Fritz M. Van der Meer (eds.) Comparing Civil Service Systems in the 21st Century (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan 2007), 65-81.

"The Chinese Communist Party’s Nomenklatura System as a Leadership Selection Mechanism: an Eva luation," in Kjeld Erik Brodsgaard and Zheng Yongnian (eds.) The Chinese Communist Party in Reform London : Routledge, 2006, 33-59.

"Civil Service Reform in China" in OECD (ed.) Governance in China Paris : OECD, 2005, 49-75. http://www.oecd.org/document/32/0,2340,en_2649_33735_35340704_1_1_1_1,00.html

Government Capacity and the Hong Kong Civil Service ( Hong Kong : Oxford University Press, 2004) xii + 468 pp. http://www.oupchina.com.hk/at/2010/book14.asp

"Downsizing the Chinese State : Government Retrenchment in the 1990s," The China Quarterly 175 (Sept. 2003), 775-802. http://journals.cambridge.org/action/displayAbstract?fromPage=online&aid=182895

"Governance and Civil Service Reform," in Jude Howell (ed.) Governance in China (Lanham: Rowman and Littlefield, 2003), 37-57.

Governance – Progress and Challenges in Mongolia (Lead Consultant) Manila : Asian Development Bank, 2003. See http://www.adb.org/Documents/Reports/Others/Mon-CGA-final.pdf

"Governance and Public Sector Reform in the People's Republic of China ," in A.B.L. Cheung and I. Scott (eds.) Governance and Public Sector Reform in the Asia Pacific: Paradigm Shifts or Business as Usual? ( London : RoutledgeCurzon, 2003), 67-89.

"Rewarding Comrades at the Top in China," in Christopher Hood and B. Guy Peters with G. Lee (eds.) Reward for High Public Office: Asian and Pacific Rim States (London: Routledge, 2003), 49-69.

Development Management: Progress and Challenges in the PRC (Lead Consultant) Manila : Asian Development Bank, 2002, 128pp.

Civil Service Systems in Asia (co-edited, with Bidhya Bowornwathana ) ( Cheltenham : Edward Elgar, 2001), xvii + 321 pp.

"The People's Republic of China at Fifty: National Political Reform," The China Quarterly 159 (Sept. 1999), 580-594.

"Strengthening Central Party Control of Leadership Selection, The 1990 Nomenklatura," The China Quarterly 138 (June 1994), 458-491.

"The Structure of Communist Party Control in Hong Kong ," Asian Survey 30:8 (Aug. 1990), 748-765.

The Chinese Communist Party's Nomenklatura System: A Documentary Study of Party Control of Leadership Selection, 1979-1984 (edited, with introduction) Armonk , N.Y. : M.E. Sharpe, 1989, xlviii + 166 pp.

"Chinese Civil Service Reform: The 13th Party Congress Proposals," The China Quarterly 120 (Dec. 1989), 739-770. http://journals.cambridge.org/action/displayAbstract?fromPage=online&aid=3538336

"China's Governance: Political Reform in a Turbulent Environment," The China Quarterly 119 (Sept. 1989), 481-518.

"China's nomenklatura system," Problems of Communism 36:5 (Sept.-Oct. 1987), 36-51.

The Hong Kong Civil Service and Its Future (co-edited with Ian Scott ) Hong Kong : Oxford University Press, 1988, x + 287 pp

Political Participation in Rural China (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1988), xii + 276 pp

The Hong Kong Civil Service: Personnel Policies and Practices (co-edited with Ian Scott ) Hong Kong : Oxford University Press, 1984, x + 330pp

Full publication list



Updated: Jul 8, 2014


  Copyright © Faculty of Social Sciences, The University of Hong Kong, All rights reserved.