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Member of the Durham Law School  


Xinyue Li is a PhD Candidate in Law at Durham University who is supervised by Professor Thom Brooks and Professor Ming Du, and funded by Durham Law School Studentship (2020-2023). She is also the Deputy Director of the Centre for Chinese Law and Policy, a part-time tutor in law, the PGRs Course Representative, and the Global Citizenship Programme Scholar at Ustinov College. Her research interests include international public law, international economic law, quantum legal theory, and global justice.

Prior to her PhD, Xinyue started the exploration in law in Soochow University (Suzhou, Jiangsu, China, 2012-2016), where she graduated with a first-class LLB and a Provincial Distinction Dissertation. She then pursues her passion in international law and obtained her first LLM in International Public Law with Distinction at the University of New South Wales (Sydney, Australia, 2017-2018), and her second LLM in International Economic Law with first-class honour from East China University of Political Science and Law (Shanghai, China, 2016-2019).

She has a scientist’s dream, which prompts her to dabble in different disciplines with curiosity. Her current passion is to travel quantum theories to international law. She wrote on the WTO security exceptions (in relation to US-China trade war), Global Administrative Law, the hard-won victory of humanity in armed conflicts, command responsibility (case study on the Prosecutor v Jean-Pierre Bemba Gombo case), the relationship between human rights and environmental rights, foreign same-sex marriages and Chinese public policy, systematic roots of series of corruption cases, and the intertwining relation of Tibetan Buddhism and domestic law. She also gained the Best Oralist in the Law of Sea Moot Court Competition in China (2017).

Xinyue enjoys running, dancing, hiking, yoga, meditation, piano playing, watching TV and movies, reading, writing, and thinking.

Current Research

Xinyue is undertaking her PhD research titled ‘The Pluralistic Reconciliation between National Security and Economic Liberalisation in the Geoeconomic Reset: A Quantum Worldview’. Geoeconomics captures anomalies in neoliberalism, which is represented by the resurgence of national security protection and regional competition after the intensified US-China rivalry since 2016. Yet, several aspects of geoeconomics have been criticised. Scholars have attempted to tackle problems from within the international relations (IR) or international law space. However, the field needs fresh perspectives through the adoption of methodologies that originated in different disciplines to further the understanding of geoeconomic implications for the making, interpretation, and application of international economic law.

The scholarship of quantum IR — recognised as a landmark contribution of Alexander Wendt and James Der Derian— has ignited heated debates on the ontological and epistemological bases for IR and on the virtues of quantum theory for international security matters. Inspired by quantum IR, this research creates a theoretical framework for the quantisation of geoeconomics by using quantum measurement and holism at the analogical and ontological levels, respectively. It experiments with the framework by analysing geoeconomics in international economic law on the premise of a holographic ontology with features of the probabilities of wave functions, as evidenced by the practices of China and the US under cooperative and competitive geoeconomics. It also examines the theoretical framework of ‘quantising geoeconomics’ in the setting of cybersecurity in international economic law. Furthermore, by comparing the theoretical framework of ‘quantising geoeconomics’ with other international law theories, this research aims to offer a ‘third grammar’ for the study of international economic law, avoiding both excessive formalism and realism. The visions of this research are to offer a pluralistic reconciliation between national security and economic liberalisation in a geoeconomic order by a quantum worldview, and further, to call upon scholars to confront and transcend the limitations of ‘quantising something’ and to engage in future research with different methodologies to expand the outreach of international law.


Peer-reviewed Journal Articles

  1. Xinyue Li (2022), ‘Quantising Geoeconomics: Emerging Geoeconomics in International Economic Law Through a Quantum Worldview’, Asian Journal of WTO & International Health Law and Policy, SSCI, Volume 17.1, 5-39
  2. Xinyue Li李欣玥 (2019), WTO安全例外条款的限制性适用 (‘Possible Ways to Tame the Mysterious WTO Security Exception’), 国际经济法学刊(Chinese Journal of International Economic Law), CSSCI, Issue 2, 80-92
  3. Xinyue Li李欣玥 (2019), 全球行政法在国际规制主体中的互补适用(‘The Complementary Application of Global Administrative Law in International Regulatory Bodies’), 研究生法学(Graduate Law Review CUPL), Issue 3, 65-74

Featured Media Work

  1. Xinyue Li (2021), ‘Interpreting the Geoeconomic Reset for National Security by A Quantum Worldview’, Ustinov Pantomath, forthcoming

Conference Presentations

  1. Xinyue Li (2021), ‘Quantising Geoeconomics: Emerging Geoeconomics in International Economic Law Through a Quantum Worldview’, 7th Asian International Economic Law Network (AIELN) Conference (Online), Panel 5 ‘Emerging Challenges to Trade Rules’, Singapore Management University, Singapore
  2. Xinyue Li (2021), ‘Competitive and Cooperative: National Security under the Two Faces of Geoeconomics’, Leicester Law School Postgraduate Research Conference (Online), University of Leicester, UK
  3. Xinyue Li (2021), ‘The Background of National Security in International Economic Law’, Durham Law School Annual PGR Conference (Online), Durham University, UK
  4. Xinyue Li (2021), ‘Make Three Things Possible for Online Tutoring in a Post-Covid World’, Panel ‘Engaging Students in the Blended Classroom’, Durham Annual Festival of Teaching and Learning (Online), Durham University, UK

Guest Lectures, Seminars, and Invited Talks

  1. Xinyue Li (2022), ‘Empowering Women in Academia’, Invited Talk, Global Citizenship Programme Seminar/Success, Ustinov College, Durham University, UK
  2. Xinyue Li (2022), ‘Quantising Geoeconomics: Emerging Geoeconomics in International Economic Law Through a Quantum Worldview’, Seminar on ‘Science, Technology and the Law’, Global Citizenship Programme Café Scientifique, Ustinov College, Durham University, UK
  3. Xinyue Li (2021), ‘Outreach of International Law in Geo-economic World’, 6th Virtual International Guest Lecture, IMS (Institute of Management Studies) Nodia, India,
  4. Xinyue Li (2021), ‘Quantising the Geoeconomic Order: The “Great Reset” of National Security’, Parul Institute of Law Expert Webinar, Parul University, India
  5. Xinyue Li (2021), ‘Next Steps (Academia)’, Invited Talk (Online), Global Citizenship Programme Success/Volunteering, Ustinov College, Durham University, UK
Administrative Experience

2021-Present Deputy Director, Centre for Chinese Law and Policy, Durham University

Moderated Seminars:

1) ‘Review on the PRC Arbitration Law (Draft Amendment) and the Future of Chinese Commercial Arbitration’, with Associate Professor Jing Li (East China University of Political Science and Law), 21 February 2022

2) ‘The Authoritarian Commons: Neighbourhood Democratization in Urban China’, with Professor Shitong Qiao (Duke University), 10 March 2022

Hosted Workshop: ‘PhD Publication’, upcoming


2020-Present Global Citizenship Programme Scholar, Café Politique, Ustinov College, Durham University

Chaired Webinars:

1) ‘What does Brexit mean for Britain?’, with Professor Thom Brooks (Durham Law School), 4 February 2021

2) ‘China and the New World Order’, with Dr Gordon Cheung (Durham School of Government & International Affairs), Professor Martin Ward (Durham Department of Physics), Dr Dylan Sutherland (Durham Business School), Professor Ming Du (Durham Law School), and Don Starr (Durham School of Modern Languages and Cultures), 28 May 2021

3) ‘Geoeconomics: The Past and/or The Future?’, with Dr Ge Chen (Durham Law School) and Dr Natalie Langford (Durham School of Government and International Affairs), 24 November 2021

4) ‘PhD Panel — Technology: The Philosophy for Our Era’, with Harsh Bajpai and Shuwan Cao (PhD Candidates, Durham Law School), 8 December 2021

Conducted Interviews: ‘Women in Leadership: Achieving an Equal Future in a Covid-19 World’ for International Women’s Day 2021,

1) Mrs Sue Snowdon, Her Majesty's Lord-Lieutenant of County Durham,

2) Dr Pippa Whitehouse, Associate Professor at Department of Geography,

Research Groups
  • Centre for Chinese Law and Policy
  • The Institute of Commercial and Corporate Law
  • Law and Global Justice at Durham
  • Durham Centre for Law and Philosophy
Is supervised by

Research interests

  • Public International Law
  • International Economic Law
  • Quantum Legal Theory
  • Geoeconomics
  • Global Justice
  • Global Administrative Law
  • Constitutional Law
  • Jurisprudence

Research groups

  • Durham Centre for Law and Philosophy