GV432      Half Unit
Government and Politics in China

This information is for the 2021/22 session.

Teacher responsible

Prof Chun Lin


This course is available on the MA in Asian and International History (LSE and NUS), MSc in China in Comparative Perspective, MSc in Comparative Politics, MSc in Global Politics, MSc in International and Asian History and MSc in The Global Political Economy of China and Europe (LSE and Fudan). 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. Priority will be given to students enrolled on the MSc in Comparative Politics and MSc in Global Politics.

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 postcolonial and post-cold war national 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 through reading and seminar discussion, and be capable of tackling related conceptual and theoretical questions in the social sciences.


This course will be delivered through a combination of seminars and lectures amounting to a minimum of 25 hours in the Lent term. This year, some or all of this teaching may be delivered through a combination of on-campus and online lectures and seminars. This course includes a reading week in week 6 of term.

Formative coursework

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

Indicative reading

  • J Gray, Rebellions and Revolutions (2003)
  • M Meisner, The Deng Xiaoping Era (1996)
  • C Bramall, Chinese Economic Development (2008)
  • CK Lee, Against the Law (2007)
  • S Helmann and E Perry, Mao's Invisible Hand (2011)
  • J Leibold, Ethnic Policy in China (2013)
  • Y Li and J Shapiro, China Goes Green (2020)
  • W Tang, Populist Authoritarianism (2016)
  • K Brown, China's World (2017)


Essay (100%, 4000 words).

Course selection videos

Some departments have produced short videos to introduce their courses. Please refer to the course selection videos index page for further information.

Student performance results

(2017/18 - 2019/20 combined)

Classification % of students
Distinction 25
Merit 69
Pass 6
Fail 0

Important information in response to COVID-19

Please note that during 2021/22 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 differing needs of students in attendance on campus and those who might be studying online. For example, this may involve changes to the mode of teaching 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 2020/21: Unavailable

Average class size 2020/21: Unavailable

Controlled access 2020/21: No

Value: Half Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information

Personal development skills

  • Specialist skills