Han Zhang

Assistant Professor

Division of Social Science, HKUST

I am Assistant Professor in the Division of Social Science, The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST). I obtained my Ph.D. in Sociology at Princeton University in 2020, under the supervision of Matthew Salganik. I obtained my B.S. in Computer Science and B.A. in History, 2013, from Peking University.

My research spans computational social science, social movements, and quantitative methods. My dissertation identifies, describes and explains political protests in China using social media data. Datasets about protest events in authoritarian have been scant. In the first chapter of my dissertation, I use the state-of-art deep learning methods with both image and text data to identify 136,330 offline collective action events in China from 2011 - 2017 from 9.5 Million Weibo (Chinese Twitter) posts. With this unique dataset, the second chapter of my dissertation characterizes the prevalence, trends, geographical distribution, issues, tactics of the protests in China and their interaction with the police. The third chapter of my dissertation then explains why some grievances in China turned out to be protests and others fail, by comparing matched cases of grievance, some of which became protests and others remained as grievances.


  • Social Movements and Collective Behavior
  • Social Networks
  • Computational Social Science
  • Methodology


  • Ph.D. in Sociology, 2020

    Princeton University

  • M.A. in Sociology, 2018

    Princeton University

  • B.S. in Computer Science and B.A. in History, 2013

    Peking University


Mayer N. Zald Distinguished Contribution to Scholarship Student Paper Award from the