Lucie Lu (陆璐)

Welcome! I am a Ph.D. Candidate at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. In 2023-2024, I will be a Postdoctoral Research Fellow in the Columbia-Harvard China and the World Program at Columbia University.

Research Interests:

  • International cooperation
  • Human rights
  • Chinese foreign policy and global governance
  • Computational social science
  • Comparative political communication

Contact me at lul3@illinois.edu.

I study international relations with a regional focus on China. My research delves into China’s global influences in three international regimes: media, human rights and foreign aid. My ongoing research endeavors explore each of these topics individually as well as their intersections.

First, I study how authoritarian leaders use innovative propaganda strategies to improve the public’s perceptions of home government performances and counteract international naming and shaming. Autocrats’ narratives in media draw the boundaries of “us” and “them,” constructing the public’s perceptions of their government and the international community in an adversarial relationship.

Second, studying aid and human rights collectively, I investigate how China uses “carrots” (new aid projects and debt relief) to elicit lenient peer reviews and bypass the liberal-based norms underpinning the United Nations human rights review system. The Global South is more receptive to China’s voices in the human rights regime than expected. I uncover China’s quiet way of shaping human rights norms.

Third, looking into the interplay between media and foreign aid, my co-authoring projects examine how China promotes its foreign aid and development through its outward-facing media. We find that China promotes aid and loans differently. We also leverage the level of information exposure to explain the conditions that the public in recipient countries perceive Chinese aid and development model favorably.

In other collaborative projects, we examine the role of media in civil conflict diffusion in DR Congo, and leaders’ non-violent strategy in pre-empting regime challengers in Africa.

In most of my work, I combine text as data and machine learning methods to classify and analyze topical schemes, sentiment, media framing for social media posts and news articles.

My research has received support by the Cline Center for Advanced Social Research as a Schroeder Summer Graduate Fellow, the Center for East Asian and Pacific Studies at the University of Illinois, EITM Summer Institute (2022), and APSA Political Communication Section.