Globalising China

Key information

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Module code
FHEQ Level
Department of Politics and International Studies

Module overview

This course is designed to provide students with a theoretically informed introduction to key issues in the international political economy and foreign policy of China (People's Republic of China). China is an important actor in international relations, so understanding China's international politics is critical to the study of region and international relations in general. This course seeks to develop an understanding of the key driving forces in China's international relations.

The course comprises three parts. The first part (I Introduction) provides an overview of the themes by examining regionalism and multilateralism by themes. The second part (II Issues) examines nature of the China's foreign relations in key issue areas and links them with debates in international relations. As a result, the students will enhance knowledge of China and learn to relate disciplinary and empirical knowledge.


In order to take this module, you must also take 15PPOH049 China and International Politics in Term 1.

Objectives and learning outcomes of the module

On successful completion of this module a student will be able to:

  • Understanding of the major forces in the contemporary international political economy and foreign policy of China.
  • Analysis of the issues in China's international economic relations and foreign policy.
  • Ability to critically evaluate the current and future challenges for China's international political economy.
  • Familiarity with the existing theoretical approaches to analyse the international relations and foreign policy making of China.
  • Developed skills of oral and written communication.


1 hour Lecture per week

1 hour Tutorial per week

Scope and syllabus

  1. Introduction
  2. China's Soft Power - Washington Consensus vs. Beijing Consensus
  3. China as a normative power - UNCLOS
  4. China as a rising power - BRICS and BASIC
  5. China as a responsible power - PKO
  6. Issues 1: China's Regionalism - ASEAN and RCEP
  7. Issues 2: China and the Trade War
  8. Issues 3: China and the WTO
  9. Issues 4: China and the Environment
  10. Issues 5: China and Human Rights

Method of assessment

Assessment is 85% coursework (one 2000 word essay and one 2500 word essay), 10% oral presentation and 5% seminar participation.

Suggested reading

  • Henry A. Kissinger “The Future of U.S.-Chinese Relations: Conflict is a choice, not a necessity”, Foreign Affairs, 91:2, 2012.
  • Rosemary Foot “Power transitions and great power management: three decades of China–Japan–US relations”, The Pacific Review, 30:6, 2017, pp. 829-842.
  • Mark Beeson and Fujian Li “China’s Place in Regional and Global Governance: A New World Comes into View”, Global Policy, 7 (4), 2016, pp. 491-499.
  • Xiaojun Li “Understanding China’s Behavioral Change in the WTO Dispute Settlement System: Power, Capacity, and Normative Constraints in Trade Adjudication”, Asian Survey, 52:6, December 2012, pp. 1111–1137.
  • Joanna Lewis “Climate Change and Security: Examining Challenges in a Warming World”, International Affairs 85:6 (2009) p.1195-1213.
  • Pinghua Sun “Chinese Discourse on Human Rights in Global Governance”, The Chinese Journal of Global Governance, 1:2, 2016, pp. 192-213.
  • Yonjian Zhang, Y., & Barry Buzan China and the Global Reach of Human Rights. The China Quarterly, 1-22.
  • Suisheng Zhao “A Revisionist Stakeholder: China and the Post-World War II World Order”, Journal of Contemporary China, 27:113, 2018 pp. 643-658.
  • Scott Kennedy “The Myth of the Beijing Consensus”, Journal of Contemporary China 19:65, 2010, pp.461-477.
  • Suisheng Zhao “A Neo-Colonialist Predator or Development Partner? China’s engagement and rebalance in Africa”, Journal of Contemporary China, 23:90, 2014, pp. 1033-1052.


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