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The University of Southampton

PAIR6037 China and Global Politics

Module Overview

This course seeks to examine the foreign policy and international relations of the Peoples’ Republic of China (PRC) addressing how and why China has reached its status within the international system today. Aside from providing students with a detailed analysis of key issues and events pertaining to China and global politics, throughout the course we will pay attention to how China’s foreign policy relates to international relations grand and middle-range theories. The first half of the course is designed to provide students with a comprehensive overview of key issues, trends and events in China’s international relations from the 19th Century to the present day. The sessions during the first part of the course will examine topics such as the Chinese view of the world order, the PRC’s decision to enter the Korean War, the rise and fall of Sino-Soviet alliance, etc. The second half of the course will address thematic issues of relevance to China in global politics; these include the debate over the rise of China, Sino-U.S. relations, China’s growing involvement in international regimes, China and regional/global security, China’s role in regional/global economy, issues of human rights, environment, and Taiwan.

Aims and Objectives

Learning Outcomes

Knowledge and Understanding

Having successfully completed this module, you will be able to demonstrate knowledge and understanding of:

  • Students will deepen their understanding of the key issues and debates pertaining to the evolution of China’s relations with the rest of the world
  • Students will develop advanced analytical skills and polished communications capabilities
  • Students will develop the ability to employ international relations theories and frameworks to analyse issues pertaining to China and global politics


The PRC is currently the world’s second largest economy, represents about one quarter of the world’s population, and is a nuclear power with a huge military establishment. This course is designed to examine China in global politics since 1949. It offers an overview of key issues and debates pertaining to China and global politics as well as explains the extent to which China’s foreign relations relate to international relations grand and middle-range theories. The syllabus will outline the key units of the module, the objectives of the course and learning outcomes, reading materials for each of the units, media and electronic resources, teaching and learning methods, methods of assessment, as well as feedback to students and feedback from students. The proposed structure of the module is as follows: • Introduction • China’s foreign relations before the arrival of the West and Chinese perceptions of world order • Sino-Soviet Alliance and Its Collapse • China and the Korean War • Sino-US relations • Debate over the rise of China • China and regional/global economy • China and region/global security • China and international organizations • China and human rights • China and environment • China, global politics, and issue of Taiwan

Learning and Teaching

Teaching and learning methods

The principal teaching methods will include: • A weekly one-hour lecture; • A weekly one-hour seminar presentations by students and feedback from the lecturer as well as the rest of the class. The learning methods will include: • Critical reading of assigned texts; • Oral presentations; • In-class debates; • Written assignments; • Examination.

Independent Study126
Total study time150

Resources & Reading list

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

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

David M. Lampton (ed.) (2001). The Making of Chinese Foreign and Security Policy in the Reform Era, 1978-2000. 



Seminar presentation


MethodPercentage contribution
Essay  (4000 words) 40%
Exam  (2 hours) 60%


MethodPercentage contribution
Exam  (2 hours) 100%

Repeat Information

Repeat type: Internal & External

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