Juntao Lyu

Juntao Lyu


Academic background

I am from one of the millions of rural-to-urban migrant workers families in China. My life experiences as a “left-behind child” and a “migratory bird” enable me to have an early awareness of migration-related social issues in China. The curiosity about ‘why people have to live like this’ encouraged me to study sociology for my degrees.

I received my BA in Law from Anyang Normal University and my MA in Law from the China University of Political Science and Law in Beijing. After I completed my master study, I came to the University of Leeds to do my PhD. I expect that doing a PhD would help me to develop essential research skills for my future academic career. I am also curious about multicultural overseas life which would provide me an insight into different ways of living.

I believe that all people deserve social justice and equal opportunities to develop their human potentials. However, the reality is that many migrants are confronting the lack of social protection, discriminatory policies, problematic healthcare, and other forms of limitations while they are seeking opportunities to improve their lives. My PhD research is to explore the construction of lay health knowledge among Chinese rural-to-urban migrant workers and how these lay health beliefs are embedded in their health behaviours in such marginalised social positions.

Teaching experiences

  • Teaching Assistant - Semester 2, 2016/2017 Academic Year – SLSP1160 Understanding and Researching the City (level 1) (leading 2 one-hour-long seminars per week and marking assignments).
  • Guest Lecturer - May 2018 - Lecture - Qualitative Research in Psychiatry and Mental Health: Understanding, Implementing and Evaluating. Hold by Shanghai Hongkou Mental Health Centre. Cooperated with the research project "Qualitative Study on the Precise Indications of Group Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (G-CBT) on Depressive Disorder" (No.20174Y0135). Funded by the Shanghai Municipal Health Commission
  • Teaching Assistant- Semester 2, 2019/2020 Academic Year – SLSP1160 Understanding and Researching the City (level 1) (leading 3 one-hour-long seminars per week and marking assignments).

Research Engagement 

  • Research Assistant: Quantitative data processor for the research project “Urban Expansion and Housing Affordability in China” led by Dr Sun Li at the School of Sociology and Social Policy, University of Leeds. August – September 2019.
  • Research Assistant: Qualitative evaluator for the research project "Qualitative Study on the Precise Indications of Group Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (G-CBT) on Depressive Disorder" (No.20174Y0135). Funded by the Shanghai Municipal Health Commission.

Visiting Positions

  • Visiting Professor Guy Able at the Asian Demographic Research Institute at Shanghai University while doing my fieldwork in Shanghai, China. January 2018 – July 2018
  • Visiting Professor Guo, Weihe (Dean of the Sociology Department of Minzu University of China, local advisor for my fieldwork in Beijing) while doing my fieldwork in Beijing, China. September 2018 – December 2018
  • Invited part-time data analyst at the Henan Academy of Social Science (Nanyang branch).

Conferences presentations

  • 10/09/2019 – Australian Social Policy Conference 2019. Presentation – Social Health Insurance & Inequality in China.
  • 12/09/2017 - RC21 Leeds International Academic Conference for Critical Urban Studies: Rethinking Urban Global Justice. Presentation - Seeking Underground Doctors among Chinese Migrant Workers in Shanghai.



  • 2017 - The Story of a Left-Behind Child of China, LYU J. GRIFFITH JOURNAL OF LAW and HUMAN DIGNITY Vol 5, No 1 (2017), 153-165
  • 2016 - A Multilevel Analysis on Client Subjective Evaluation About the Urban Minimum Living Guarantee System in China - Based on Chinese Urban and Rural Poor Families Social Policy Support System Building Project Survey Data of 2013 , LI M, QIU H, LYU J. SOCIAL CONSTRUCTION Vol3, No. 5. (2016), 29-38

Book chapters:

  • 2016 - In View of Fairness and Justice: a Monographic Study of China Social Aid System, 89-112, Guo W, Feng B, LYU J, ISBN 978-7-5087-5327-0. China Social Press, Beijing, 2016

Career expectations

My qualitative research is focusing on people’s health knowledge, identities and subjectivities, and my quantitative skills are using R to do data analysis including visualisation, modelling and prediction in health-related social research. After I complete my PhD, I would like to continue my academic career in universities as a researcher, and I am also open to opportunities to work in international organisations, NGOs, or research institutes.


Research interests

My PhD research

My thesis is to theorise lay health beliefs and health practices among Chinese rural-to-urban migrant workers. In light of Popay’s lay health knowledge theory (1996), my research takes a further step to examine that why people tend to sacrifice their health in order to pursue other aspirations, such as economic successes. 

My fieldwork is conducted in two migrant workers’ communities in Beijing and Shanghai. By conducting the ethnographic research there, my thesis argues that except to make the health-related risk factors knowledgeable and contextualised, we also need to pay attention to people’s motivations and aspirations shaped by our societies. The final goal of my thesis is to demonstrate that people’s aspirations are constituted by multiple levels of social structural factors based on individual living experiences and circumstances, and health-related issues are negotiated differently according to their different aspirations to achieve.

My research interests

  • Sociology of Health and Illness
  • Migration and health policy studies
  • Population health
  • Epidemiology
  • Quantitative and qualitative integrated methodologies  
  • Using R to do data visualisation and analysis in social research (relevant practice please visit my WordPress: Juntao Lyu)


  • Master of Laws
  • Bachelor of Laws