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Peter J. Li

Dr. Peter Li

Peter Li

Associate Professor

Office: N1009F

Peter J. Li joined the University of Houston-Downtown in 2002 after receiving a doctoral degree in Comparative Politics/International Relations from Northern Arizona University. Dr. Li specializes in East Asian Politics with an emphasis in China’s domestic politics, foreign relations and animal protection policy. The courses Dr. Li teaches include Chinese Politics, U.S. Foreign Policy, Animal Rights & Politics, U.S. Government, and others. Before joining University of Houston-Downtown, Dr. Li worked as a business analyst with a major corporation in Denver. He also worked earlier as a junior faculty at Beijing Institute of Foreign Affairs.

As a scholar who studies China’s animal protection policy and laws, Dr. Li is frequently interviewed by local, national and international media such as New York Times, MSNBC, Fox News, BBC, CGTN (China), Channel News Asia (CAN), BBC, ABC (Australia), Reuters, Xinhua, AFP, National Geographic, U.S. News and World Report, and others.  Dr. Li writes on China’s animal welfare issues on South China Morning Post ( and other media outlets. He is also a consultant (China Policy Specialist) for Humane Society International (HIS).

​Dr. Li received his bachelor of arts degrees in English and foreign service in China. He graduated from Syracuse University with a Master's degree in International Relations. In 2000, he completed his doctoral study at Northern Arizona University with a Ph.D. degree in Comparative Politics

U.S. Foreign Policy Since WWII
East Asian Politics
Chinese Politics
Contemporary China
Politics & Animal Rights
International Political Economy
U.S. Government
Environmental Politics (to be offered soon)

Dr. Peter J. Li, Associate Professor of Political Science, brings with him knowledge and expertise of East Asia to the classrooms at the University of Houston-Downtown and the Houston community at large. Dr. Li specializes in the politics, foreign relations, and environmental governance of China.  Born in mainland China, Dr. Li completed his college education there and earned bachelor’s degrees in English and foreign service. His life in the U.S. began in the mid-1980s when he was admitted to the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs at Syracuse University to study international relations. In 2000, Dr. Li was awarded a doctoral degree in Comparative Politics from North Arizona University. He has been teaching at the University of Houston-Downtown since 2002.

Dr. Li has researched and written on China’s foreign relations, U.S.-China relations, regional security and conflicts on Northeast Asia. These research and writings are related to the ruling Communist Party of China,  China’s strategic role in North Korea and the Korean Peninsula (,  the Sino-Japanese dispute over the Diaoyu (Senkaku) Islands (, and the election of Tsai Ing-wen and its impact on Taipei-Beijing relations.

As one of the international relations scholars who also study global environmental politics, Dr. Li has written extensively on the politics of modernization and its impact on animal protection policy-making. He wrote in popular media and academic journals, for example, on China’s misguided wildlife conservation policy (, wildlife use regulatory failure and a global public health crisis (, urbanization, development, and diversification of social interests and conflicts (, and on the need for China to legislate against animal cruelty (

Before joining the University of Houston-Downtown, Dr. Li worked as a junior faculty at Beijing Institute of Foreign Affairs-外交学院 ( interpreter for the General Manager of Beijing Philips; part-time instructor of international relations at Northern Arizona University (; and as  business/policy analyst of Qwest Communications.

Dr. Li has appeared on a large number of American and international media and news programs to offer his comments on Chinese politics, U.S.-China relations, Northeast Asian politics and animal protection policy issues. These include CNN, BBC World Service, China’s Xinhua News Agency and CCTV, Singapore’s Channel News Asia, China Daily, South China Morning Post, SBS Radio (Australia), New York Times, Los Angeles Times, the Forbes (,  Sky TV,  Radio Beijing, Channel 26 of San Francisco, Fox 26 Houston, and Houston’s Asia Voice.  Dr. Li has published at the request of CNN-International (, Foreign Affairs (,  Foreign Policy (ChinaFile) (,  the Newsweek (,  the International Business Times (UK) (, the Chinadialogue (,   and the online magazine of the University of Nottingham Asia Research Institute (

At the University of Houston-Downtown, Dr. Li has taught a variety of courses. These include Chinese Politics, East Asian Politics, China’s Foreign Policy, U.S. Foreign Policy since 1945, International Political Economy, U.S. Government, and Politics and Animal Rights. He redesigned the course Environmental Politics and will be offering it in the near future.

Dr. Li has used his expertise to promote the University of Houston-Downtown and to serve the national and international community. He was twice invited to attend Congressional briefings (2014 and 2016) on issues related to U.S.-China trade over food products and China’s animal welfare issues. Dr. Li is China Policy Specialist for Humane Society International (HSI), a consultant position since 2007. He advises HSI, the global arm of Humane Society of the United States, on its China programs and helps supervise HSI operation in the Greater China Region (   



​Dr. Li has authored articles in refereed journals on China's modernization and its impact on the nation's wildlife policy making and management. These journals include China Information, Journal of Applied Animal Welfare Science, and Journal of Wildlife Rehabilitation. He also writes for popular media such as Canada's National Post, the Chronicle of Houston, South China Morning Post, The Global Times, Animal People, All Animals, the World Journal and Southern Chinese News.

For a select number of Dr. Li's publications, please visit:



Last updated 2/4/2021 5:53 AM