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Welcome! I am a Ph.D. student in Political Science at Washington University in St. Louis, majoring in comparative politics and political methodology. Substantively, my research seeks to understand how institutions of democratic checks and balances, especially the judiciary and the media, could be captured by governments and other interests groups. Methodologically, I am interested in text-as-data analysis and social network analysis. My article is forthcoming at International Studies Quarterly.

Before coming to the United States, I obtained my M.Phil. in Social Science (fully funded) and M.Sc. in Global China Studies from the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, and Bachelor of Social Sciences (First Class Honours) in Government and International Studies from Hong Kong Baptist University (fully funded). I also studied as an exchange student at Sciences Po Paris from 2016 to 2017 and worked as a research assistant at New York University Abu Dhabi in 2021. Outside of work, I enjoy photography and traveling around the world (I have been to 31 countries so far).

You can follow me on Twitter @ruilinlai or email me at

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