Not available in 2020/21
GV432      Half Unit
Government and Politics in China

This information is for the 2020/21 session.

Teacher responsible

Prof 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

(2016/17 - 2018/19 combined)

Classification % of students
Distinction 24.7
Merit 67.7
Pass 7.5
Fail 0

Important information in response to COVID-19

Please note that during 2020/21 academic year some variation to teaching and learning activities may be required to respond to changes in public health advice and/or to account for the situation of students in attendance on campus and those studying online during the early part of the academic year. For assessment, this may involve changes to mode of delivery and/or the format or weighting of assessments. Changes will only be made if required and students will be notified about any changes to teaching or assessment plans at the earliest opportunity.

Key facts

Department: Government

Total students 2019/20: 32

Average class size 2019/20: 16

Controlled access 2019/20: Yes

Value: Half Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information

Personal development skills

  • Specialist skills