Associate Professor 副教授





(852)  3943 1066

(852) 2994 2505

Room 614
Faculty of Law
6/F, Lee Shau Kee Building
The Chinese University of Hong Kong
Sha Tin, NT, Hong Kong SAR

Samuli Seppänen holds an S.J.D. degree from Harvard Law School and an undergraduate law degree from Helsinki University, Finland. At Harvard, Samuli served as a teaching fellow at the Kennedy School of Governance and as a coordinator of the Visiting Scholars’ and Researchers’ Colloquium at the law school. Between graduating from Harvard Law School and joining the faculty of law, Samuli was an associate with Allen & Overy’s international capital markets practice in London. Samuli has also worked as a junior professional officer with the World Health Organization’s Regional Office for South East Asia. Samuli’s research focuses on legal and political thought in China and developmental aspects of international law. He is admitted to the New York bar.



  • S.J.D. (Harvard Law School)
  • LL.M. Program (Harvard Law School; degree waived for S.J.D. degree)
  • LL.M. (Helsinki University)
  • Admitted to the Bar of the State of New York


  • Chinese legal studies
  • Law and development
  • Public international law


  • Harvard Law School, Graduate Program Fellow
  • Harvard University, Kennedy School of Governance, Teaching Fellow
  • ASLA-Fulbright Fellow
  • Helsinki University, Erik Castrén Institute of International Law and Human Rights, Research Fellow



  • Ideological Conflict and the Rule of Law in Contemporary China: Useful Paradoxes (Cambridge University Press, 2016; book website:

Articles and book chapters

  • “After Difference: A Meta-comparative Study of Chinese Encounters with Foreign Comparative Law,” Am. J. Comp. L. (forthcoming)
  • “International Law and Economic Development,” Oxford Bibliographies (forthcoming with Oxford University Press)
  • “Interrogating Illiberalism through Chinese Communist Party Regulations,” Cornell Int’l L.J. (forthcoming)
  • “Anti-formalism and the Preordained Birth of Chinese Jurisprudence,” China Perspectives (2018/14), 31-38
  • “Performative Uses of Sovereignty in the Belt and Road Initiative,” in Zhao Yun (ed.), International Governance and the Rule of Law in China under the Belt and Road Initiative (Cambridge University Press, 2018), 32-56
  • “Chinese Legal Development Assistance: Which Rule of Law? Whose Pragmatism?,” Vanderbilt J. Transnat’l Law 51 (2018), 101-158
  • “From Substance to Absence: Argumentative Strategies in the Implementation of the Human Rights-Based Approaches to Development,”  NYU J. Int’l Law & Pol. 49 (2017),  389-441
  • “Rawls rejected, ignored, and radicalized: Debating procedural justice in China,” in Sapio, Flora et al. (eds.), Justice: The China Experience (Cambridge University Press, 2017), 92-110
  • “Ideological Renewal and Nostalgia in China’s ‘Avant-Garde’ Legal Scholarship,” 13 Wash. U. Global Stud. L. Rev. 13 (2014), 83-125

Book reviews

  • “Human Rights in China: A Social Practice in the Shadows of Authoritarianism, by Eva Pils,” The China Journal 81 (2019), 183-185
  • “Guidebook to a Foreign Land: Review of G. Frankenberg’s Comparative Law as Critique,” American Journal of Comparative Law, 66 (2018): 474–479

Research reports

  • Possibilities and Challenges of the Human Rights-Based Approach to Development (University of Helsinki, Erik Castrén Institute Research Reports, 2005)
  • Commercial Disputes and Their Resolution in the People’s Republic of China (University of Helsinki, Erik Castrén Institute Research Reports, 2005)
  • Good Governance in International Law (University of Helsinki, Erik Castrén Institute Research Reports, 2003)


  • Principal Investigator, General Research Fund 2018/19, “Chinese Legal Thought and the World: Reversing the Global Flow of Knowledge,” 01/01/2019-31/12/2020