Rui Hou

Postdoctoral Fellow, Asian Institute


Dr. Rui Hou is a postdoc fellow in the Asian Institute at the Munk School of Global Affairs and Public Policy. He received his Ph.D. in sociology from Queen’s University in 2020. His doctoral dissertation, ‘Outsourced Authoritarianism: the Commercialization of State Control in Chinese Mayor’s Hotlines and the Internet-opinion Industry’, explores how for-profit organizations are engaged in the frontline governance of contemporary China. His current research interests are in political sociology, sociology of emotions, digital politics, and surveillance studies. Hou’s articles have appeared in New Media &Society, The China Quarterly, and Surveillance &Society.

Hou’s postdoc research focuses on the China’s social credit system (SCS). This ongoing research perceives the SCS as a tech-driven project developed by the Chinese state to increase the legibility of its population. This research aims to explore the three questions: How does the Chinese state makes its population legible by demarcating its citizens by creditworthiness? How are digital technologies engaged with the process of sorting citizens by their creditworthiness? What impact do the tech-driven sorting practices bring to the (global) civil society?


Ph.D. Queen’s University (2020)
M.A. Tsinghua University (2014)
B.A. Nanjing University (2011)


Rui Hou, 2019, The commercialisation of Internet-opinion management: how the market is engaged in state control in China. New media &Society.

Rui Hou, 2019, Maintaining social stability without solving problems: emotional governance in the Chinese Petition System. The China Quarterly.

Rui Hou, 2018, The booming industry of Chinese state internet control, openDemocray, 21 November 2018.

Rui Hou, 2017, Neoliberal governance or digitalized autocracy? The rising market for online opinion surveillance in China. Surveillance & Society, v. 15, n. 3/4, p. 418-424.



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