Global Politics of China

This information is for the 2021/22 session.

Teacher responsible

Prof William Callahan CBG.9.05


This course is available on the BSc in International Relations and BSc in International Relations and Chinese. This course is not available as an outside option. This course is available with permission to General Course students.

Course content

This course will provide students with an historical overview of the development of Chinese foreign and security policy, the theoretical concepts used for analysing the making of Chinese foreign policy, and an up-to-date survey of China's evolving relations around the world. The first five weeks will be dedicated to providing a long historical perspective, and use a number of case studies to show how basic factors used in foreign policy analysis shape policy outcomes, including economic factors, the role of perception, geopolitical influences, bureaucratic politics, nationalism, and socialisation into the international system. The remainder of the course will involve analysing case studies on China's relations with the United States, Hong Kong and Taiwan, Southeast Asia, and on the topical issues of the Belt and Road Initiative, and global cyber-politics.


10 hours of lectures and 12 hours of classes in the MT. 18 hours of classes in the LT.

Students on this course will have a reading week in Week 6, in line with departmental policy.

Formative coursework

Students will complete two 1500-word essays during the course, and will make two presentations to the seminar. It is permissible for the presentations to be on the same topics as the essays.

Indicative reading

  • Economy, Elizabeth C., The Third Revolution: Xi Jinping and the New Chinese State, Oxford University Press, 2019.
  • Yahuda, Michael, The International Politics of the Asia-Pacific, 4 edn. London: Routledge, 2019.
  • French, Howard. Everything under the heavens: how the past helps shape China's push for global power. London: Scribe UK, 2017.
  • Christensen, Thomas J. The China Challenge: Shaping the Choices of a Rising Power. New York: W.W. Norton, 2015.
  • Shambaugh, David. China Goes Global. New York: Oxford University Press, 2013.
  • Liao, Xuanli Chinese Foreign Policy Think Tanks and China's Policy Towards Japan. Hong Kong: Chinese University Press, 2006.


Essay (75%, 2500 words) in the ST.
Presentation (25%) in the MT and LT.

During the course of the seminars students will participate in a group presentation (25%) and submit a 2500 word essay (75%) at the start of the ST.

It is permissible for the summative essays to be on the same topic(s) as the formative essays and presentations.

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.

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: International Relations

Total students 2020/21: Unavailable

Average class size 2020/21: Unavailable

Capped 2020/21: No

Value: One Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information

Personal development skills

  • Self-management
  • Team working
  • Problem solving
  • Communication
  • Specialist skills