Chinese Politics And Society POLITIC5021

  • Academic Session: 2023-24
  • School: School of Social and Political Sciences
  • Credits: 20
  • Level: Level 5 (SCQF level 11)
  • Typically Offered: Semester 2
  • Available to Visiting Students: Yes

Short Description

This course examines contemporary Chinese politics with a particular focus on state-society relations; political institutions, political representation and participation and the role of civil society. It begins with a look at early 20th century politics and how the Chinese Communist Party came to power. Then it examines the key social and political transformations since 1949. The rest of the course focuses on key political institutions and issues in Chinese politics and society today, and the debates around them, including the Chinese Communist Party, the governmental system and social policy reforms, and state-society relations.


2 Hours per week over 10 weeks.

Requirements of Entry


Excluded Courses





The course is assessed by a 750 word essay outline (20% of final grade) and a 3,500 word essay (80% of final grade).

Course Aims

The aims of the course are to:

1. Introduce students to 20th century Chinese politics and especially the politics of the post-1979 period.

2. Examine the institutions of the contemporary political system and the socio-political changes produced by economic reform since 1979.

3. Explore the ways in which political representation, political participation and civil society have been transformed by economic and political liberalisation since 1979.

Weekly course topics

1. Contemporary Chinese politics and society in historical context

2. From Maoist radicalism to market reform: an overview of political change under communist rule

3. The Chinese Communist Party: paradoxes of marketization?

4. Governing China: understanding the party-state

5. Governing Chinese society: social policy reform

6. Civil society and environmental politics

7. State, business and urban politics

8. Governance and protest in the countryside

9. Media and politics: control versus marketization

10. The prospects of political change


Selected Readings

Gries, P. and S. Rosen, Chinese Politics (2010)

Lieberthal, K. Governing China (2004)

Perry, E. and M. Selden, Chinese Society

Saich, T. Governance and Politics of China (2006)

Intended Learning Outcomes of Course

By the end of this course students will be able to: 1. Be able to discuss critically China's modern century political development. 2. Be able to critically assess the institutions of the contemporary Chinese political system. 3. Be able to discuss critically the socio-political changes wrought by the last 20 years of economic reform. 4. Be able to explain the transformation of Chinese political institutions, representation, participation and civil society.

Minimum Requirement for Award of Credits

Students must submit at least 75% by weight of the components (including examinations) of the course's summative assessment.