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Politics and Society in Modern China

Учебный год
Обучение ведется на английском языке
Курс по выбору
Когда читается:
4-й курс, 3 модуль


Course Syllabus


This course is tailored for students majoring in “Asian studies”, who want to learn more about contemporary Chinese politics and society. The aim of this course is to familiarize students with political and social development of the PRC after 1978. First, the course focuses on domestic politics in China: major political institutions and their evolution, the role and ideology of the CCP, center-local relations, the impact of politics on the trajectory of economic development, policy-making process and selected policy areas. Second, the course looks into many aspects of Chinese society and explores the complexity of life in contemporary China. Particular attention is paid to civil society and political participation, changes in the relations of rural and urban sectors of society, the media, patterns of social inequality, ethnic identity and policy etc. The course not only provides factual knowledge about political and social development in China, but also offers conceptual perspectives to study it, such as political and social institutions, political economy, policy process, social identities, etc.
Learning Objectives

Learning Objectives

  • To give students an overview of the major changes and transformations in Chinese politics since 1978, to acquaint them with the major political institutions, the role of ideology, center-local relations and policy-making process in the PRC.
  • To provide students with understanding of key issues in societal development in the PRC, e.g. the basic trends of public’s participation in Chinese politics, major social challenges and processes, such as inequality, migration and urbanization.
  • To develop students' skills in application of theoretical models to the analysis of political and social processes in the PRC.
Expected Learning Outcomes

Expected Learning Outcomes

  • Applies political economy perspective to the analysis of Chinese economics since 1978.
  • Applies this knowledge to the analysis of particular policies development.
  • Describes structure of political system in China, key state (government, legislature, judiciary) and CCP institutions and their functions.
  • Is familiar with the role of provincial, municipal and local governments in Chinese politics.
  • Knows major facts about Chinese political elites: characteristics and types, selection, key strategies for success.
  • Knows the typical features of policy process in China, role of society and local governments in this process.
  • Is familiar with analytical approaches to Chinese politics and society, uses the conceptual apparatus of political science and sociology to analyze Chinese political and social development.
  • Knows key events in China’s political development 1978-2022.
  • Explains resilience of authoritarian regime in the PRC, the changing role of ideology in Chinese politics.
  • Is familiar with politics in rural China.
  • Is familiar with China’s population policy and social policy.
  • Applies the concepts of civil society and political participations to the analysis of socio-political processes in China.
  • Gives examples of collective actions and protests in China.
  • Describes the major features of mass media system in China.
  • Knows how social media is used in China for political purposes both by political elites and netizens.
  • Traces evolution of China’s ethnic policy and describes its major pillars.
  • Assesses PRC’s ethnic policy and its impact on building harmonious society.
  • Describes the major features of Han identity.
Course Contents

Course Contents

  • Part 1. Introduction
  • Part 2. Political institutions
  • Part 3. Policy-making
  • Part 4. Civil Society and Political Participation
  • Part 5. Mass media and cyberspace
  • Part 6. Ethnic identity and ethnic policy
Assessment Elements

Assessment Elements

  • non-blocking Exam
    The exam is a written test with different types of questions: multiple choice, questions with open answer, etc.
  • non-blocking In-class participation
    Lecturer evaluates students’ progress, including comprehension of lecture materials and assigned readings, as well as contribution to discussions. The component is calculated as an average grade achieved on all seminars. If a student is not able to attend the seminar due to illness or any other legitimate reason (relevant document should be provided the same week the student is back to the university), he/she is not graded for that seminar. In all other cases students are graded with 0 for the seminar they have missed.
  • non-blocking Tests on required literature
    Lecturer evaluates students' comprehension of assigned readings by conducting a short test with multiple choice questions and questions with open answer. The component is calculated as an average grade achieved for all tests. If a student is not able to attend the seminar due to illness or any other legitimate reason (relevant document should be provided the same week the student is back to the university) he/she is not graded for that seminar. In all other cases students are graded with 0 for the test they have missed.
  • non-blocking Newsletter
    One time per course the students have to prepare a newsletter. For a newsletter, they have to select 6-8 important events that have happened in the PRC (including Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan). For each event, students should 1) provide a title, 2) insert a photo (with information about its origins), 3) describe what has happened, explain the background of this event, comment on its implications and importance 4) provide links to web-pages, journal articles or books which have further information on this topic. Information about each event should be 150-300 words. The students have to sign up for this assignment during week 1 of the course. This assignment is done alone or in pairs depending on the number of students. Each student/group is responsible for covering events of one week (or two weeks depending on the number of students) and the newsletter should be sent to all students and lecturer on Monday after the end of the covered period. Delay by one day results in minus one point.
Interim Assessment

Interim Assessment

  • 2022/2023 3rd module
    0.3 * Exam + 0.2 * In-class participation + 0.3 * Tests on required literature + 0.2 * Newsletter


Recommended Core Bibliography

  • William A. Joseph. (2014). Politics in China : An Introduction, Second Edition: Vol. Second edition. Oxford University Press.
  • Zhu, J. V. (DE-588)1035651459, (DE-576)383417864, aut. (2017). Weapons of the powerful : authoritarian elite competition and politicized anticorruption in China / Jiangnan Zhu, Dong Zhang.

Recommended Additional Bibliography

  • Cai, Y., & Zhu, L. (2013). Disciplining Local Officials in China: The Case of Conflict Management. China Journal, 70, 98–119. https://doi.org/10.1086/671339
  • Chen, J., & Lu, C. (2011). Democratization and the Middle Class in China: The Middle Class’s Attitudes toward Democracy. Political Research Quarterly, 64(3), 705–719. https://doi.org/10.1177/1065912909359162
  • Fravel, M. T. (2005). Regime Insecurity and International Cooperation: Explaining China’s Compromises in Territorial Disputes. International Security, 30(2), 46–83. https://doi.org/10.1162/016228805775124534
  • Friedman, E. (2014). Alienated Politics: Labour Insurgency and the Paternalistic State in China. Development & Change, 45(5), 1001–1018. https://doi.org/10.1111/dech.12114
  • Heilmann, S. (2008). From Local Experiments to National Policy: The Origins of China’s Distinctive Policy Process. China Journal, 59, 1–30. https://doi.org/10.1086/tcj.59.20066378
  • Heilmann, S. (2008). Policy Experimentation in China’s Economic Rise. Studies in Comparative International Development, 43(1), 1–26. https://doi.org/10.1007/s12116-007-9014-4
  • Joniak-Luthi, A. (2015). The Han: China’s Diverse Majority. https://doi.org/10.6069/9780295805979
  • KING, G., PAN, J., & ROBERTS, M. E. (2013). How Censorship in China Allows Government Criticism but Silences Collective Expression. https://doi.org/10.1017/s0003055413000014
  • Liu, H., & van Dongen, E. (2016). China’s Diaspora Policies as a New Mode of Transnational Governance. Journal of Contemporary China, 25(102), 805–821. https://doi.org/10.1080/10670564.2016.1184894
  • O’Brien, K. (2011). Studying Chinese Politics in an Age of Specialization. Journal of Contemporary China, 20(71), 535–541. https://doi.org/10.1080/10670564.2011.587157
  • SHIH, V., ADOLPH, C., & LIU, M. (2012). Getting Ahead in the Communist Party: Explaining the Advancement of Central Committee Members in China. https://doi.org/10.1017/s0003055411000566
  • Weiss, J. C. (2013). Authoritarian Signaling, Mass Audiences, and Nationalist Protest in China. International Organization, 1, 1.
  • Yee, A. (2011). Maritime territorial disputes in East Asia : a comparative analysis of the South China Sea and the East China Sea / Andy Yee.
  • Yongshun Cai. (2008). Social Conflicts and Modes of Action in China. China Journal, 59, 89–109. https://doi.org/10.1086/tcj.59.20066381
  • YUEN, S. (2015). Hong Kong After the Umbrella Movement: An uncertain future for “One Country Two Systems.” China Perspectives, 1, 49–53.
  • Zhao, S. (2008). China’s Global Search for Energy Security: cooperation and competition in Asia-Pacific. Journal of Contemporary China, 17(55), 207–227. https://doi.org/10.1080/10670560701809460