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Chinese Politics

Module Code: PO4750

Module Name: Chinese Politics 2017-18

  • ECTS Weighting: 15
  • Semester/Term Taught: Michaelmas + Hilary Term
  • Contact Hours: One hour lecture + one hour seminar per week
  • Module Personnel: Lecturer - Dr Heidi Wang-Kaeding
  • Office hours: Coll. Green, Room 5.07

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this module students should be able to:

  • Acquire a detailed understanding of the political system of People’s Republic of China.

  • Examine the key political challenges and governance issues confronting the regime and the ruling Chinese Communist Party.

  • Debate the social and economic impacts of the formal and informal institutions and practices the Party adopts.

  • Discuss the basic dynamics of Chinese foreign policy toward a variety of countries and regions and on a variety of issues.

  • Understand and critically evaluate the main theoretical and empirical approaches to the study of Chinese politics.

Module Learning Aims

The aim of this module is to ensure that students will develop a detailed understanding of the major issues in Chinese politics and be familiar with the main theoretical and empirical approaches to the study of these issues.


Module Content

The module provides a comprehensive introduction to the politics of the People’s Republic of China. It discusses the prominent features of the single-party rule by the Chinese Communist Party, and explores their social, economic and global impacts. The module includes four parts.

The first part provides an overview of Chinese political history, with an emphasis on the rise of the Party and the major events in the Maoist era.

The second part examines the key institutional and non-institutional features of the current political system, evaluates its strengths and weaknesses, and explores major political and governance issues confronting the regime.

The third part focuses on the interactions between politics and economy, seeking to provide a political explanation to the rapid economic growth in the reform era and examine the political barriers to sustainable development.

The last part discusses the structure and process of foreign policymaking, and analyses the policies China adopts towards regions and countries such as the United States, Europe and Asia, and on issues such as national security, international trade and global governance.

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Recommended Reading List

Key Reading:

  1. Kroeber, Arthur R. 2016. China’s Economy: What Everyone Needs to Know. Oxford University Press
  2. Lieberthal, Kenneth. 2004. Governing China: From revolution through reform. 2nd ed. New York: W.W. Norton.
  3. Shambaugh, David. 2013. China Goes Global: the Partial Power. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

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Assessment Details

Two Presentations (5% each)
Two Essays (15% each)
One three-hour examination (60%)

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Last updated 24 August 2017 polsci@tcd.ie.