Timetable information in the Course Catalogue may be subject to change.

University Homepage
DRPS Homepage
DRPS Search
DRPS Contact
DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of Social and Political Science : Politics

Undergraduate Course: Chinese Politics (PLIT10140)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of Social and Political Science CollegeCollege of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 10 (Year 3 Undergraduate) AvailabilityAvailable to all students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryChinese Politics is a course on the contemporary domestic politics of China. We will focus on how the Chinese political institutions operate today by addressing a variety of issues and aspects: the evolution of the party-state from 1949 to the present; the political economy of the Reform era; the development and role of the Chinese Communist Party in the Chinese political system. Taking an intersectional approach, we will also assess other contemporary issues faced by China, including migration, social movements, and media censorship. The course will conclude with an examination of China's foreign relations and its future, such as the debate over China's role in the global economy and international security.
Course description The People's Republic of China (PRC) is one of the most dynamic countries in the world today. It represents approximately one quarter of the world's population, sustains the largest bureaucracy in the history of the world, and currently possesses a political economic system that combines elements of both communism and capitalism. As China has undergone revolution, reform, and rapid economic and social changes in the last century, this course aims to provide students with a background on major political elements in China today from a domestic perspective. Students will be introduced to the basic concepts of political processes, political institutions, and political events in modern China.

Throughout the course, we will also take the role of identities, such as gender, class, and ethnicity, into consideration when we examine the consequences of these political developments, changes, and operations in China.

Students will critically engage with concepts and theories related to Chinese politics and be exposed to cross-cutting methodologies that empirically answer questions related to Chinese politics. In addition to the lectures and seminars, students will also gain valid skills that are transferable beyond graduation through the course assessments, such as working as a team, creating a Wiki entry, and providing professional peer feedback.

Seminar topics may include Chinese Communist Party, leadership selection and incentives in the party-state, elections in China, effectiveness of governance, democratization, economic development and income inequality, social movements, migration, political communication, and foreign relations.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Students MUST have passed: Introduction to Politics and International Relations (PLIT08004) OR Politics in a Changing World: An Introduction for non-specialists (PLIT08012) OR Politics and International Relations 1A: Concepts and Debates (PLIT08017)
Students MUST have passed:
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements Students who lack the compulsory pre-requisites but have completed comparable courses should contact the Course Organiser to confirm if they are eligible to take this course.
Information for Visiting Students
High Demand Course? Yes
Course Delivery Information
Academic year 2023/24, Available to all students (SV1) Quota:  60
Course Start Semester 1
Timetable Timetable
Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 200 ( Lecture Hours 10, Seminar/Tutorial Hours 20, Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 4, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 166 )
Assessment (Further Info) Written Exam 0 %, Coursework 80 %, Practical Exam 20 %
Additional Information (Assessment) Participation (10%) - attendance and informed, collegial, and meaningful contributions to class discussion

Essay (50%) - a 2,500 word essay for which students are expected to conduct independent research that asks, explores, and addresses their own questions based on their topics of interest. In the essay, students are expected to address their questions, show their knowledge of relevant concepts and theories, demonstrate a logical and effective pattern of argument, and support their arguments with accurate evidence. Students must discuss and confirm their essay with the course organizer beforehand.

Team Wiki entry (30%) - With a team, students will select a topic related to politics in China. Collectively, students will write a 2,000-word Wiki entry drawing from reputable scholarly and news sources.

Peer-assessed team presentation (10%) - Collectively, students will work with their team on presenting their Wikipedia entry based on a topic of their choice. Presentations will be assessed jointly by the course convenor and the other students in the seminar, with both the course convenor's mark and the students' mean mark each counting for 50% of the final mark of the presentation.

Detailed written guidance for each of the assessments will be offered in the course guide and discussed in class. This will include detailed guidance on the peer assessment process, including guidance on assessment forms and marking criteria.
Feedback Participation: Students will receive informal mid-semester feedback on their participation in the course. Their final participation mark and feedback will be released after the last class of the semester.

Team Wiki entry: Students are encouraged to solicit assistance on their Wiki entry throughout the semester. The final Wiki entry will be submitted mid-semester (after week 6) and will receive feedback in a timely fashion.

Essay: Students are welcome to discuss their ideas and solicit assistance on their essay throughout the semester via which they will receive informal feedback on their essay. The essay will be submitted after the last day of class and graded primarily on the extent to which the essay addresses their essay questions, demonstrates sufficient knowledge on relevant concepts and theories, and illustrates reflexivity and critical thinking in relation to their arguments and evidence.

Peer-assessed team presentation: Feedback on students' presentations will be given to them after presentations are conducted.

No Exam Information
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. Explain how formal political institutions, such as the Chinese government/Communist Party, develop and function throughout recent Chinese history.
  2. Critically analyze economic and democratic developments of China and their consequences.
  3. Use gender and intersectionality as a frame of analysis for understanding salient challenges faced by China.
  4. Show a critical understanding of the operations and consequences of informal political institutions, such as media censorship, social movements, etc., in China's past, present, and future.
  5. Develop research, analytical, and communication skills that facilitate independent thinking, project management, research ideas-pitching.
Reading List
Chen, P. and Gallagher, M., 2018. Mobilization without movement: How the Chinese state 'fixed' labor insurgency. ILR Review, 71(5), pp.1029-1052.

Choi, S.Y.P. and Peng, Y., 2016. Masculine compromise: Migration, family, and gender in China. Univ of California Press.

Day, L.H. and Xia, M., 2019. Migration and urbanization in China. Routledge.

King, G., Pan, J. and Roberts, M.E., 2017. How the Chinese government fabricates social media posts for strategic distraction, not engaged argument. American political science review, 111(3), pp.484-501.

Schuster, J., 2013. Invisible feminists? Social media and young women's political participation. Political Science, 65(1), pp.8-24.

Truex, R., 2014. The returns to office in a ''rubber stamp'' parliament. American Political Science Review, 108(02), pp.235-251.

Zhao, S. ed., 2014. China and democracy: Reconsidering the prospects for a democratic China. Routledge.
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills 1. Critically engagement with scholarship
2. Communicate complex scholarly concepts apply them to contemporary politics
3. Formulate theoretical arguments and evaluate empirical evidence
4. Manage a project independently as well as collectively through teamwork
5. Communicate with others in a clear and concise manner, both verbally and in writing, nurtured in seminar activities, team work, research proposal, and peer-review
KeywordsNot entered
Course organiserDr Sarah Liu
Course secretaryMr Ethan Alexander
Tel: (0131 6)50 4001
Help & Information
Search DPTs and Courses
Degree Programmes
Browse DPTs
Humanities and Social Science
Science and Engineering
Medicine and Veterinary Medicine
Other Information
Combined Course Timetable
Important Information