GV432      Half Unit
Government and Politics in China

This information is for the 2017/18 session.

Teacher responsible

Dr Chun Lin CON3.10


This course is available on the MSc in China in Comparative Perspective, MSc in Comparative Politics and MSc in Global Politics. This course is available with permission as an outside option to students on other programmes where regulations permit.

Entry to this course may be restricted.

Course content

Contemporary contradictions of socioeconomic and political transformations of China since 1949 and especially 1978; their rival explanations and interpretations: Often in comparison with other postcommunist transitions, other Asian states and other national developing trajectories, our discussions will cover the evolving historical, international and geopolitical contexts of China's development, its social and political demography; state power at all levels of governance, central-local relations, and semi-federalism; bureaucracy as tradition and as invention; political economy and market transition as global integration; social structure and organisation; class, ethnic, and gender relations; ideology, cultural politics, and issues concerning democracy and legitimacy; nationalism, “one country, two systems”, the Taiwan question; and China’s military, security, and changing foreign policy and global position. Students are expected to gain extensive historical and empirical knowledge about the PRC and be capable of tackling related conceptual and theoretical questions.


25 hours of seminars in the LT.

This course is offered in LT, constituting 10 weeks of 2.5 hour seminars and one reading week (week 6 of the LT) for essay and learning support activities.  

Formative coursework

Students are required to give at least one seminar presentation, and to write one 1,500 word essay.

Indicative reading

M Meisner, The Deng Xiaoping Era (1996); B Womack, Contemporary Chinese Politics in Historical Perspective (1999); C Bramall, Chinese Economic Development (2008); CK Lee, Against the Law (2007); B Dickson, The dictator's Dilemma (2016); W Tang, Populist Authoritarianism (2016); S Heilman & E Perry, Mao's Invisible Hand (2011); M Leonard (ed), China 3.0 (2012); V Goossaert and D Palmer, The Religious Question in Modern China ( 2011); A Saich, State-Society Relations in the PRC (2016).


Essay (100%, 4000 words).

Student performance results

(2013/14 - 2015/16 combined)

Classification % of students
Distinction 20
Merit 70
Pass 10
Fail 0

Key facts

Department: Government

Total students 2016/17: 25

Average class size 2016/17: 13

Controlled access 2016/17: Yes

Value: Half Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information

Personal development skills

  • Specialist skills