GV432      Half Unit
Government and Politics in China

This information is for the 2019/20 session.

Teacher responsible

Dr Chun Lin


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.

This course is capped at two groups.

The deadline for applications is 17:00 on Tuesday 1 October 2019. You will be informed of the outcome by 17:00 on Wednesday 2 October 2019.

Course content

Contemporary experiences and 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 cover the evolving historical, international and geopolitical contexts of China's development, its social and political geography and demography; state power at all levels of governance, central-local interactions and semi-federalism; bureaucracy as tradition and as invention; political economy and market transition in global integration; social structure and organisation; class, ethnic, and gender relations; ideology, cultural politics, and issues concerning democracy and legitimacy; official and popular nationalism, “one country, two systems”, the Taiwan question; and China’s military, security, and changing foreign policy and global positioning. Students are expected to gain extensive historical and empirical knowledge about the PRC and be capable of tackling related conceptual and theoretical questions in the social sciences.


10 hours of lectures and 15 hours of seminars in the LT.

This course is offered in LT, constituting 10 teaching weeks and one reading week (week 6 of the LT) for essay and learning support activities. The teaching is structured as a 1 hour lecture followed by a 1.5 hour seminar.

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 Era (1996); J Gray, Rebellions and Revolutions (2003); C Bramall, Chinese Economic Development (2008); CK Lee, Against the Law (2007); W Sun and Y Guo, Unequal China (2013); S Helmann and E Perry, Mao's Invsible Hand (2011), W Tang, Populist Authoritarianism (2016); K Brown, China's World (2017).


Essay (100%, 4000 words).

Student performance results

(2015/16 - 2017/18 combined)

Classification % of students
Distinction 22.5
Merit 69.7
Pass 7.9
Fail 0

Key facts

Department: Government

Total students 2018/19: 35

Average class size 2018/19: 17

Controlled access 2018/19: No

Value: Half Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information

Personal development skills

  • Specialist skills