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Kerry Brown

Kerry Brown


Member of Council

I am a native of Kent, and was born here in 1967, and educated at Dartford Grammar School before going to Cambridge to read English and Philosophy. After graduating in 1989 I lived in Japan and Australia for two years before returning to the UK and studying Mandarin Chinese in London. I then lived in the Inner Mongolia region of China, working for Voluntary Service Overseas as a teacher, before returning to the UK and, in 1998, joining the Diplomatic Service of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office.


I served as First Secretary, British Embassy, Beijing from 2000 to 2003, and then Head of Indonesia and East Timor Section, and then directed policy at UK Visas, before leaving to becoming Senior Fellow, and then Head of the Asian Programme from 2005 to 2012 at Chatham House, Royal Institute for International Affairs, London. From 2012 to 2015 I was Professor of Chinese Politics and Director of the China Studies Centre at the University of Sydney, and then in 2015, returned to the UK to my current position as Professor of Chinese Studies and Director of the Lau China Institute, at King's College, London. I completed a PhD in Chinese politics and language at the University of Leeds from 1998 to 2004, and am a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts.


I have written 20 books on contemporary China, the most recent of which is a history of the People's Republic from 1949, published by Polity Press in 2020. More details about me can be found at


I have a particular interest in the literary history of Kent. This can be found at I am also interested in ecclesiastical architecture.  I currently live in Canterbury.