Ian's PhD journey at RegNet

Ian Zhang RegNet

Recent graduate Ian Zhang, who received his Doctor of Philosophy in Regulation and Governance from the ANU School of Regulation and Global Governance, shares his PhD journey in this Q&A.

Tell us a little about yourself

I am an international student from China and I started my PhD journey at RegNet in July 2015. My research interests are restorative justice, criminal justice in China, and qualitative research methods.

What was your thesis about?

According to John Braithwaite, China has the largest and most diverse restorative justice (RJ) programs in the world, which, however, is “the elephant in the room” for the social movement for RJ. The inspiration and major task of my PhD was to unveil the mystery of RJ in China.

My thesis, China: A Powerhouse and Resistor of Restorative Justice contributes to unveiling the puzzle of this RJ project of challenging scale. It investigates the restorative programs universally implemented in the Chinese criminal justice system (i.e., people’s mediation, public order mediation and criminal reconciliation) and an indigenous mediation (De Gu mediation) particularly practiced by the ethnic Yi people in southwest China to represent this aspect of Chinese diversity.

What do you like about Canberra?

I love the city, the parks, the people but the best part of Canberra is when I am running along Lake Burley Griffin late in the afternoon. The sunset view and the incarnadine sky is breathtaking.

Highlight of your PhD journey?

Being John Braithwaite’s student at RegNet is the best part of my PhD journey. I am saddened by the fact that I will be leaving a place that has been so closed to my heart for the past seven years. I will miss all the familiar faces, the Tuesday seminars, School activities and being part of the RegNet internal mailing list.

How would you describe your experience at RegNet?

RegNet’s interdisciplinary network has broadened my horizon and helped me jump out of my silo mentality. More importantly, RegNet is a big family. Every RegNetter has a kind and generous heart, and never hesitates to share ideas and help each other. It has been great being part of the RegNet family and I know the friendships that I have made will stay with me for a long time.

Any advice for prospective PhD candidates?

Deadlines are great for productivity but we should not always and only rely on them. I have spent seven years, four months and twenty on my PhD journey. I thought I would not be able to finish it, but I did make it! So my advice for students is to be confident in our supervisors and ourselves!

We wish Ian all the best as he embarks on the next stage of his life journey, as an Assistant Professor at University of Macau.