Michael C. Davis is the Professor of Law and International Affairs at Jindal Global University in India and a Senior Research Scholar at the Weatherhead East Asia Institute at Columbia University. A widely sought after scholar on human rights in Asia, he also holds non-residential fellowships at the Liu Institute for Asian Studies at the University of Notre Dame and the Center for Comparative Public Law at the University of Hong Kong. He was previously the Reagan-Fascell Democracy Fellow at the National Endowment for Democracy (2016-2017), and the Schell Senior Human Rights Fellow at Yale Law School (1994-5). A Professor of Law at the University of Hong Kong until late 2016, he has also held distinguished visiting professorships at Northwestern University (2005-6), Notre Dame (2004-5) and Case Western Reserve (2000). His books include Constitutional Confrontation in Hong Kong (1990), Human Rights and Chinese Values (1995), and International Intervention in the Post-Cold War World (2004). He has contributed commentary and analysis to such newspapers as the Washington Post, the New York Times and South China Morning Post, the latter for which Amnesty International and the Hong Kong FCC awarded him a 2014 Human Rights Press Award for commentary.

Read more about Michael Davis here.

Project Summary

The Asian region has long been plagued with authoritarian regimes. Wrapped up in claimed Asian values, these regimes promise development and order. With growing economic success demands for democratic reform arise. Emerging democracies have had to prove their capacity to produce stable governance. An illiberal trend rooted in history and the prior authoritarian experience has plagued Asia's newest democracies, producing great difficulty in delivering the promise democracy has to offer. Constitutions and constitutionalism have been at the centre of these developmental debates. Yet a weak understanding of constitutional fundamentals and its methods of implementation has often lead to democratic reversal and breakdown. When democracy fails to deliver, military or populist rule often takes hold leading to severe repression and increased conflict. This project will elaborate key constitutional principles and the path forward for emerging Asian democracies through an analysis of Asian experience.

Major Publications

“Strengthening Constitutionalism in Asia,” Journal of Democracy, Vol. 28 (October 2017) pp. 147–161.

“The Basic Law, Universal Suffrage and the Rule of Law in Hong Kong,” Hastings International and Comparative Law Review, Vol. 38/2, Spring, 2016, pp. 275–298.
Tibet and China’s National Minority Policies,” Orbis, Vol. 56/3, (2012), pp. 429–446.


Previous Terms

September 4, 2018 - May 31, 2019