Course Code


Course Name

China and World History in the 20th Century


Wednesdays 18:30-21:15


WMY 502


Dr. So Wai Ling Fion

Teaching Assistant

Mavis Siu

Course Description

The early twentieth century witnessed a world of change manifested in two contesting economic doctrines; the laissez faire system favouring trade expansion contrasted directly with state interventionism favouring protectionist policies. Being part of this global process, China adapted whilst resisting according to internal political needs, and this affected how it fitted into overall East Asian and global trade patterns. It also played an important role in affecting how the Chinese local economies became integrated into the world during this period.

This course examines themes that are of importance for our understanding of major economic changes in China in the first decades of the twentieth century. It will cover topics including state-merchant relations, economic nationalism and colonialism, reform and rural commercialisation, internationalism and war. The aim of the course is to provide a sound basis, both in terms of factual knowledge and methodological approaches, for further in‐depth study of the history of China and its place in the world.

Course Outline

Week 1. Introduction to China in world history. 

Week 2. Nineteenth Century Disasters. Famines, the Taipings and the emergence of treaty port

Week 3. Chinese Diplomatic Service Aboard and Homeward 

Week 4. China’s Relations with the West. From Cooperation to Confrontation 

Week 5. Zheng Guanyin 鄭觀應’s shangzhan (‘商戰’) and rural commercialism 

Week 6. The Xinzheng Reform of 1901 

Week 7. State-Merchants Relations in China

Week 8. German Presence in China – the Model Colony of Qingdao

Week 9. From laissez-faireism to state interventionism 

Week 10. The Russo-Japanese War of 1904/05 

Week 11. The Zhoufu’s Family and the Emergence of Yuan Shikai 

Week 12. Economic Nationalism and the Provincial Seat at Jinan

Week 13. The Final years of the late Qing. From Economic Nationalism to Revolution 


Assessment & Assignments

Attendance 10%
Tutorial Participation 20%
Mid-term Essay (Not more than 2,000 Words) 30%
Take home exam 40%

Honesty in Academic Work

Attention is drawn to University policy and regulations on honesty in academic work, and to the disciplinary
guidelines and procedures applicable to breaches of such policy and regulations. Details may be found at each assignment, students will be
required to submit a signed declaration that they are aware of the policies, regulations and procedures.