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 the University of Helsinki. 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 an international law firm 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, East Asian Legal Studies
  • University of Oxford, Faculty of 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

  • “Chinese Legal Thought on the Global and the Domestic Stage: A Rhetorical Study,” Asian Journal of Comparative Law 18 (2023): 158-178;
  • “Ideology and Historiographic License in Chinese Legal Scholarship,” Law & Social Inquiry (2023): 1-24;
  • “Production and Global Dissemination of Chinese Legal Ideology: Implications for the Study of Illiberalism,” The Cardozo Journal of International and Comparative Law 6 (2023): 447-499;
  • “The Global Turn in Chinese Legal Ideology,” Verfassung und Recht in Übersee / World Comparative Law 55 (2022): 287-308;
  • “Turning the Party State Inside Out: CCP Intra-party Regulations as a Theoretical Challenge,” The Chinese Journal of Comparative Law 1 (2022): 128-139;
  • “Formalism and anti-formalism in the Chinese Communist Party’s governance project,” Global Constitutionalism 10 (2021): 290–306;
  • “Disorientation for the New Era: Intraparty Regulations and China’s Changing Party State Relations,” in Rogier J. E. H. Creemers & Sue Trevaskes (eds.), Law and the Party in Xi Jinping’s China: Ideology and Organization (Cambridge University Press 2021): 214-236;
  • “Ideological Responses to the Coronavirus Pandemic: China and Its Other,” University of Pennsylvania Asian Law Review 16 (2020): 24-65;
  • “After Difference: A Meta-comparative Study of Chinese Encounters with Foreign Comparative Law,” American Journal of Comparative Law 68 (2020): 186-221;
  • “Interrogating Illiberalism through Chinese Communist Party Regulations,” Cornell International Law Journal 52 (2019): 267-311;
  • “International Law and Economic Development,” Oxford Bibliographies (2019);
  • “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 Journal of Transnational Law 51 (2018): 101-158;
  • “From Substance to Absence: Argumentative Strategies in the Implementation of the Human Rights-Based Approaches to Development,” New York University Journal of International Law & Politics 49 (2017): 389-441;
  • “Rawls Rejected, Ignored, and Radicalized: Debating Procedural Justice in China,” in Flora Sapio, Susan Trevaskes, Sarah Biddulph & Elisa Nesossi (eds.), Justice: The China Experience (Cambridge University Press, 2017): 92-110;
  • “Ideological Renewal and Nostalgia in China’s ‘Avant-garde’ Legal Scholarship,” Washington University Global Studies Law Review 13 (2014): 83-125.
  • “Narcissistic Law: Legal Fictions and the Law of the People’s Republic of China,” Finnish Yearbook of International Law, 15 (2004), 83-110

Book reviews

  • “Comparing Law: Comparative Law as Reconstruction of Collective Commitments by Catherine VALCKE,” Asian Journal of Comparative Law 14 (2019): 382-384;
  • “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