Course Code


Course Name

Governing China


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

  1. Introduction: course outline and requirements (5 Sept.)
  2. Historical legacies (19 Sept.)
  3. Politics and governance in China: the agenda (26 Sept.)
  4. Party and state institutions and structures (3 Oct.)
  5. The role of leadership and cadre selection (10 Oct.)
  6. Policy making (17 Oct.)
  7. Policy goals: society and the economy (24 Oct.)
  8. Contentious politics (31 Oct.)
  9. Urbanisation and changing society (7 Nov.)
  10. China’s regions and centre-local relations (14 Nov.)
  11. The military (21 Nov.)
  12. Xi Jinping and governance of China (28 Nov.)
  13. China in global context (optional, timing TBC)*

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.