Course Code


Course Name

Selected Themes in Chinese Politics


Mondays, 11.30-14.15


Prof. Tim Summers

Teaching Assistant

Huang Xiaotong

Course Description

This course introduces key issues and concepts in politics and governance in contemporary China. It takes a thematic approach, looking at the historical origins of China’s contemporary political system, its structures and processes today, the main goals which the system is designed to achieve, and some of the challenges it faces. Throughout, the course will examine different ways that Chinese politics and governance have been analysed and introduce key concepts in the academic literature on Chinese politics.

Course Outline

Week 1: Introduction: course outline and requirements 

Week 2: Historical legacies 

Week 3: Politics and governance in China: the agenda 

Week 4: Party and state institutions and structures

Week 5: The role of leadership and cadre selection 

Week 6: Policy making 

Week 7: Policy goals: society and the economy 

Week 8: Contentious politics 

Week 9: Urbanisation and changing society 

Week 10: China’s regions and centre-local relations 

Week 11: The military 

Week 12: Xi Jinping and governance of China 

Week 13: China in global context (Optional)


Assessment & Assignments

Reading reflection 20%

Short presentation 20%

Final essay 50%

Attendance and participation 10%

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 With each assignment, students will be required to submit a signed Veriguide receipt.