Government and Politics of China

Key information

Start date
End date
Year of study
Year 2 or Year 3
Module code
FHEQ Level
Department of Politics and International Studies

Module overview

This module will impart a solid grounding in the dynamic evolution of the Chinese state and Chinese nationalism, China's self-identified problems of weakness and underdevelopment, the difficult choices made by political elites over the course of three quite different regimes of the 20th and 21st century (Republic, revolutionary People's Republic, reformist People's Republic and the brief inclusion of post-1949 Taiwan as a comparative referent). Throughout the academic year, this module will stress how this legacy offers both the opportunity and constraint for the present politics of China.

The first weeks will concentrate on the background and political trajectory of politics in the late imperial, Republican and revolutionary People's Republic. Followed by politics in the 1990s and 2000s, focussing on different sectors (the impact of globalization, rural China, urban reform), and special policy arenas (environment, public health and the perennial question of corruption and poor governance), before concluding with sessions on democratization in Taiwan and China's own limited experiments with village democracy.

Objectives and learning outcomes of the module

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

  • Demonstrate a knowledge of the key themes of continuity and change in Chinese politics from the Republican period to the present
  • Understand the key problems of governance in a state as large and complex as China
  • To make a sustained analytical argument about the core themes of the module


This module will be taught over 20 weeks with:

  • 1 hour lecture per week
  • 1 hour tutorial per week

Method of assessment

Assignment 1: Essay 20%
Assignment 2: Essay 20%
Unseen written examination 60%


Important notice regarding changes to programmes and modules