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Prof Peng Wang

Associate Professor

9.03, 9/F., The Jockey Club Tower, Centennial Campus

3917 2058

HKU Scholars Hub
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Personal Website
Prof Peng Wang
  • Peng Wang is Associate Professor in the Department of Sociology, the University of Hong Kong (HKU). He is an associate member of the Extra-legal Governance Institute at the University of Oxford. He holds a PhD in Law and an MA in Criminology and Criminal Justice from King’s College London. His research focuses on organized crime, corruption, police and policing, informal institutions, and China studies.

    He is the author of The Chinese Mafia: Organized Crime, Corruption, and Extra-legal Protection (Oxford University Press, 2017). The most significant features of this book include: (1) it offers the first scholarly account of the rise of the Chinese Mafia in contemporary China based on published materials and fieldwork data; (2) it presents an innovative new theory, Socio-Economic Theory, in the study of the mafia; (3) it examines the conflict between laws and guanxi (the Chinese version of interpersonal networks) and explores the embeddedness of the extra-legal protection business into social networks; (4) it studies two major types of extra-legal institution: Red Mafia (corrupt public officials) and Black Mafia (street gangsters); their formation, roles and collusion.

    Since joining HKU in summer 2014, Peng has published seven articles in The British Journal of Criminology, one of world’s top criminology journals, and five articles in The China Quarterly, the world’s leading China Studies journal. Other works appeared in journals such as World Development, Urban History, Australian and New Zealand Journal of Criminology, Journal of Contemporary China, Survival: Global Politics and Strategy, The RUSI Journal, Trends in Organized Crime, and Global Crime.

  • PhD
    King’s College London

    MA Criminology and Criminal Justice
    King’s College London

    East China University of Political Science and Law (Shanghai, China)

    • Crime and anti-crime

    • Corruption and anti-corruption

    • Policing

    • Bureaucracy and governance

    • Economic sociology

    • Law and society

    • China studies

  • Extralegal governance in China

    Online illegal markets such as gambling and sexual fiction markets

    Juvenile delinquency

  • 2021 American Sociological Association Global and Transnational Sociology Best Scholarly Article Award – Honorable Mention.

    Winner, The Social Sciences Outstanding Research Output Awards 2016-2017 for Basic Research, Faculty of Social Sciences, The University of Hong Kong.

  • Books:

    Wang, P. & Lin, Wanlin (forthcoming), Extralegal Governance: The Social Order of Illegal Markets in China. Cambridge Studies in Economics, Choice, and Society. New York: Cambridge University Press.

    Wang, P. (2017) The Chinese Mafia: organized crime, corruption and extra-legal protection. Clarendon Studies in Criminology. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

    –Winner, The Social Sciences Outstanding Research Output Awards 2016-2017 for Basic Research, Faculty of Social Sciences, The University of Hong Kong

    Journal articles:

    Zhang, X., & Wang, P. (2024). “The politics of higher education in China: the signal–response mechanism, downward tiered pressure escalation, and the Double First-Class University Initiative.” Comparative Education, accepted. (Corresponding and co-first author)

    Wang, J., & Wang, P. (2024). “Campaign-style law enforcement in China: Causes and consequences.” Journal of Criminology, (Corresponding and co-first author)

    Zhang, X., & Wang, P. (2024). “Research misconduct in China: towards an institutional analysis.” Research Ethics,

    This article is featured in Nature news with the DOI: Additionally, it is highlighted in a Science Commentary:

    Lin, W., Wang, P., and Yuan, M. (2023). "Governing the knowledge commons: Hybrid relational–contractual governance in china’s mining industry." World Development 172: 106376. (Corresponding author)

    Wang, P., & Kwok, S. I. (2023). "Hong Kong triads: the historical and political evolution of urban criminal polity, 1842–2020." Urban History, 50(3), 445-467.

    Ruan, J., & Wang, P. (2023). "Elite Capture and Corruption: The Influence of Elite Collusion on Village Elections and Rural Land Development in China." The China Quarterly, 253, 107-122. (Corresponding author)

    Jiang, A., & Wang, P. (2022). "Governance and informal economies: informality, uncertainty and street vending in China." The British Journal of Criminology, 62(6), 1431-1453. (Corresponding author)

    Wang, P., Su, M., & Wang, J. (2021). ‘Organized crime in cyberspace: How traditional organized criminal groups exploit the online peer-to-peer lending market in China.’ The British Journal of Criminology61(2), 303-324.

    Wang, P., Joosse, P., & Cho, L. L. (2020). “The Evolution of Protest Policing in a Hybrid Regime”. The British Journal of Criminology. 60(6), 1523-1546. (2021 American Sociological Association Global and Transnational Sociology Best Scholarly Article Award – Honorable Mention)

    Wang, Peng (2020). “How to engage in illegal transactions: Resolving risk and uncertainty in corrupt dealings”. The British Journal of Criminology. 60(5),1282–1301.

    Wang, Peng (2020). “Politics of crime control: How campaign-style law enforcement sustains authoritarian rule in China”. The British Journal of Criminology. 60(2), 422–443.

    Wang, Peng & Xia Yan (2020). “Bureaucratic slack in China: The anti-corruption campaign and the decline of patronage networks in developing local economies”. The China Quarterly. 243, 611-634.

    Varese, Federico, Peng Wang & Rebecca Wing Yee Wong (2019). “‘Why Should I Trust You with My Money?’: Credible Commitments in the Informal Economy in China”. The British Journal of Criminology. 59(3), 594-613.

    Li, L. & Wang, P. (2019). “From Institutional Interaction to Institutional Integration: The National Supervisory Commission and China’s New Anti-corruption Model”. The China Quarterly. 240, 967–989. (corresponding author)

    Wang, P. & Wang, J (2018). “How China promotes its military officers: Interactions between formal and informal institutions”. The China Quarterly. 234, 399-419.

    Wang, P. & Cho, L. F. & Li, R. (2018). “An Institutional Explanation of Media Corruption in China”. Journal of Contemporary China. 27(113), 748-762.

    Wang, P. (2016). “Military Corruption in China: The role of guanxi in the buying and selling of military positions”. The China Quarterly. 228. 970-991.

    Wang, P. & Antonopoulos, G. (2016). “Organized crime and illegal gambling: How Do Illegal Gambling Enterprises Respond to the Challenges Posed by Their Illegality in China?”. Australian and New Zealand Journal of Criminology. 49 (2), 258-280.

    Skarbek D. & Wang, P. (2015). “Criminal Rituals”. Global Crime. 16(4), 288-305.

    Wang, P. (2014). “Extra-legal protection in China: How guanxi distorts China’s legal system and facilitates the rise of unlawful protectors”. The British Journal of Criminology. 54 (4). 809-830.

    Wang, P. & Blancke, S. (2014). “Mafia State: The Evolving Threat of North Korean Narcotics Trafficking”. The RUSI Journal. 159 (5). 52-59.

    Broadhurst, R. & Wang, P. (2014). “After the Bo Xilai Trial: Does Corruption Threaten China’s Future?”. Survival: Global Politics and Strategy. 56 (3). 157-178.

    王鵬(著),李曉敏(譯),‘中國經濟改革與法外保護興起’《新制度經濟學評論》第26卷, 第166~189頁。被人大複印資料《理論經濟學》2014年第8期全文轉載。

    Wang, P. (2013). “The Increasing Threat of Chinese Organised Crime: National, Regional and International Perspectives”. The RUSI Journal. 158 (4). 6-18.

    Wang, P. (2013). “The Rise of the Red Mafia in China: A Case Study of Organised Crime and Corruption in Chongqing”. Trends in Organized Crime. 16 (1). 49-73.

    Wang, P. (2011). “The Chinese Mafia: Private Protection in a Socialist Market Economy”. Global Crime. 12 (4). 290-311.

    Book chapters:

    Wang, P., Joosse, P., & Cho, L. L. (2023), "The End of Soft-Style Protest Policing in a Hybrid Regime Evidence from Hong Kong," in Weitseng Chen and Hualing Fu (eds.), Regime Type and Beyond: The Transformation of Police in Asia, pages 316–342, Cambridge University Press.

    Wang, P. (2019) ‘Red Mafia’, in Wiley Blackwell Encyclopedia of Sociology (2nd Edition). London: Wiley-Blackwell.

    Wang, P. (2015). Organized Crime in a Transitional Economy: The Resurgence of the Criminal Underworld in Contemporary China. G. Barak (Ed.). Routledge International Handbook on the Crimes of the Powerful. Pages 401-11. Routledge.

    See all publications in HKU Scholars Hub →

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