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The University of Southampton

PAIR3021 Chinese Politics

Module Overview

After briefly considering the relevance of the traditional Chinese world order to contemporary Chinese political life, the module then focuses on two core themes: (1) Chinese domestic politics; (2) China’s external relations. Units on Chinese politics will address a variety of issues, including the origins of the Chinese communist revolution of 1949, the evolution of the party-state from 1949 to the present, the political economy of the Reform era, the roles of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) and the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) in the Chinese political system, and politics of Hong Kong and Taiwan. The sessions on China’s foreign relations will examine topics such as the PRC’s decision to enter the Korean War, the rise and fall of Sino-Soviet alliance, Sino-U.S. normalization, the debate over the rise of China, China’s role in the global economy, China and international security, as well as China and the environment.

Aims and Objectives

Learning Outcomes

Learning Outcomes

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Identify and examine the key issues pertaining to the evolution of the Chinese party-state since 1949
  • Critically analyse as well as China’s relations with the rest of the world since 1949
  • Use advanced analytical skills in order to employ political science and international relations theories and frameworks to analyze the most important questions and themes in Chinese politics


(1) Introduction and the Chinese view of world order (2) The communist revolution and the Chinese politics under Mao, 1949-78 (3) The political economy of the Reform era since Deng, 1978-present (4) The CCP, the PLA, and the Chinese political system (5) Politics of Hong Kong and Taiwan (6) China’s foreign relations during the Maoist era (7) China’s foreign relations since the Deng era and the debate over the rise of China (8) China and the world economy (9) China and international security (10) China and the environment

Learning and Teaching

Teaching and learning methods

This module concludes 1 two-hour lecture every week and 5 seminars in which students are required to give oral presentations and to actively contribute to the discussions that follow. Students are expected to attend all lectures as well as seminars and to participate in each seminar.

Independent Study126
Total study time150

Resources & Reading list

Johnston, Alastair and Ross, Robert (2006). New Directions in the Study of China’s Foreign Policy. 

Tony Saich (2011). Governance and Politics of China. 

Lieberthal, Kenneth (2004). Governing China: From Revolution Through Reform. 

Shaun Breslin (ed.) (2010). Handbook of Chinese International Relations. 

Lampton, David M. (2014). Following the Leader: Ruling China, from Deng Xiaoping to Xi Jinping. 

Journals. • The China Journal; • The China Quarterly; • Journal of Contemporary China ; • Modern China; • Pacific Affairs; • China Information; • Asian Survey; • Pacific Review; • International Security; • International Studies Review



MethodPercentage contribution
Essay  (2400 words) 40%
Exam  (2 hours) 50%
Presentation  (6 minutes) 10%


MethodPercentage contribution
Exam 100%

Repeat Information

Repeat type: Internal & External

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