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Preston Jordan Lim, JD - Villanova University. Villanova, PA, US

Preston Jordan Lim, JD

Assistant Professor, Law | Villanova University


Professor Lim focuses on contemporary challenges to the international legal system, with an emphasis on Chinese foreign policy.


Areas of Expertise (7)

Uyghur Forced Labor

Prosecution of War Crimes

Canada's Relationship with International Law

Canadian Foreign Policy

Canadian Domestic Politics

China's Relationship with International Law

Chinese Foreign Policy


Professor Lim is currently an Assistant Professor of International Law at Villanova University's Charles Widger School of Law. His primary area of study is Chinese foreign policy, which includes China’s relationship with international law and entities, specific countries’ relationship with China and issues related to Taiwan, Hong Kong and the Uyghur population in Xianjing. A native Canadian, Preston is also well-versed in Canadian domestic politics and foreign policy, both in study and practice. He holds an A.B. (summa cum laude) from Princeton University, a Master of Global Affairs from Tsinghua University--where he studied as a Schwarzman Scholar--and a J.D. from Yale Law School. He has served as a Policy Advisor to the Shadow Minister of Foreign Affairs in Canada's Parliament and as a Judicial Law Clerk at the Court of Appeal for Ontario and at the Supreme Court of Canada.

Affiliations (2)

  • National Institute of Military Justice : International Fellow
  • UBC Centre for Constitutional Law and Legal Studies : Centre Associate

Select Media Appearances (7)

­How Canada can Better Combat Uyghur Forced Labour

The Globe and Mail  online


How can Canada better combat Uyghur forced labour? It must embrace a dual-track strategy that combines increased pressure on China at international institutions with the deployment of two domestic legal tools in the service of international law: a Xinjiang-specific forced labour import ban, and mandatory due-diligence legislation.

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India Warns of Travel to Canada

CTV News  tv


Following the killing of a Sikh leader in Canada, India issued its population a warning advising travelers and students in the Canada to exercise “utmost caution.” “It’s important to contextualize that one bit – the travel advisory – and see it is as a part of a larger suite of measures that the Indian government is presenting to show firm resolve in its spat with Canada,” said Preston Jordan Lim, assistant professor of law at Villanova University.

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How China might affect Canada’s dispute with India

Toronto Star  online


Preston Jordan Lim is an assistant professor of International Law at Villanova University’s Charles Widger School of Law. Lim says he had already seen parallels with China in past instances of India’s international activities targeting diasporas, which have included disinformation campaigns.

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Opinion: After the shootings in Atlanta, the U.S. is reckoning with anti-Asian racism. Canada must do the same

The Globe and Mail  online


Many Canadians like to find comfort in the belief that they are less racist than Americans. After all, is this not the country of thriving multiculturalism? Yet history demonstrates that anti-Asian hate is as old as Canada itself, and is likely to persist into the future.

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Opinion: How China’s legal bulwarks for its atrocities in Xinjiang can be overcome

The Globe and Mail  online


The law, for its part, seems clear on the issue. The Chinese government has violated jus cogens norms – fundamental, overriding principles of international law, such as the prohibitions on genocide and crimes against humanity. How should Canada respond? Thus far, the conversation has focused on bilateral mechanisms that Ottawa might adopt: export restrictions, Magnitsky sanctions, and the like. Yet, given that Beijing’s actions violate international law, Canadian policymakers ought to consider international solutions to the problem.

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Opinion: Trudeau needs a coherent China strategy

Toronto Star  online


The 2019 federal election focused little on Canadian policy toward China. Despite the fact that Canada-China relations have deteriorated to their worst point in recent memory, no party leaders offered more than a few lines on how to reset the bilateral relationship. Now that Trudeau has won a second term, however, he and his cabinet must change the way in which Ottawa forges its China strategy. Trudeau must articulate a coherent approach and build the political institutions necessary to support that approach.

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Opinion: America's vaccine diplomacy should start in its backyard

Newsweek  online


As the domestic situation improves, the Biden administration needs to play a much bigger role in the global fight against COVID. While some analysts argued that the U.S. should use "vaccine diplomacy" as a tool of great power competition, targeting various countries, particularly in Southeast Asia—to keep them out of China's orbit—the administration would be wiser to look closer to home. The U.S. should put North America first and prioritize vaccinations for Mexico and Canada. A focus on regional health and stability will be a better long-term strategic victory—reopening our biggest export destinations' economies and advancing our citizens' health security.

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Select Academic Articles (4)

The Somalia Affair and the Transformation of Canadian Military Justice

UBC Law Review

2023 Despite the richness of the extant literature, few scholars have paid the requisite attention to the Somalia Affairs impact on Canadas military justice system. Such a gap is a significant one, since almost all of the investigations and commissions established by the government agreed that the Somalia Affair highlighted serious deficiencies in the military justice system and consequently called for revolutionary reform. The government and CF responded effectively to those calls for reform. Ultimately, the Somalia Affair and the reforms it sparked inaugurated the modern era of Canadian military justice. Many aspects of the modern military justice system find their origin in the extraordinary period of intellectual ferment and reform that commenced in 1995 and continued into the current millennium.

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The COVID-19 Pandemic and International Law

Cornell International Law Journal

2022 How does the COVID-19 pandemic affect States’ obligations under international law? This is a question of not just academic interest but real importance for people’s lives. After all, whether States abide by international law—and whether international law is fit for purpose—is vitally important for everyone from refugees exposed to the virus in unsanitary detention centers to national leaders fighting disinformation campaigns and safeguarding vaccine supply chains. International law has been central to the world’s response to the pandemic from the start—even if the participants did not always realize it.

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Applying International Law Solutions to the Xinjiang Crisis

Asian-Pacific Law & Policy

2020 Examines the extent of Chinese government repression of ethnic minorities in Xinjiang province.

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Sino-Canadian relations in the age of Justin Trudeau

Canadian Foreign Policy Journal

2019 The ongoing Huawei dispute has led Canadian commentators to proclaim the death of Justin Trudeau’s China strategy. This paper takes a nuanced look at Sino-Canadian relations since 2015, arguing that Ottawa has not adopted a policy of unconstrained engagement, but rather has taken a harder line toward Beijing than traditionally appreciated. The paper proposes explanations for the Liberal government’s harder line: (1) domestic Canadian wariness toward China, (2) Xi’s more aggressive vision of Chinese foreign policy, and (3) Trump’s election and the consequent devolution in Sino-American relations. Finally, the paper suggests that in light of these factors, Canadian policymakers will need to reshape Ottawa’s China strategy.

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