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2022/23 Undergraduate Module Catalogue

PIED2448 Politics of Contemporary China

20 creditsClass Size: 160

Module manager: Dr Kingsley Edney

Taught: Semester 1 (Sep to Jan) View Timetable

Year running 2022/23

This module is approved as a discovery module

Module summary

This module surveys and critically engages with the politics of contemporary China, a vast, dynamic country at the forefront of the supposed 'Asian century'. The key aim of the module is to provide students with a thorough knowledge and understanding of contemporary Chinese politics, including the structures of the state, the evolving role of the Chinese Communist Party, and the effects of economic and political reforms on Chinese society.Students will also consider the lesser known aspects of Chinese politics, including political struggles and development strategies in western frontier regions such as Xinjiang. By the end of the module students will have an in-depth knowledge of contemporary Chinese politics. You will be expected to appreciate the nuanced ways in which political and economic reforms have affected Chinese society, demonstrating a critical engagement with the relevant academic literature and policy debates.


On completion of this module, students should be able to:

Demonstrate a knowledge of the Chinese political system as well as the changes which have occurred in post-Mao China and the effects of those changes.

Show a critical understanding of contrasting theoretical perspectives on the nature of Chinese politics and political culture;

Exhibit an ability to analyse academic debates concerning political developments in China.

Learning outcomes
Provides a knowledge of the Chinese political system as well as the changes which have occurred in post-Mao China and the effects of those changes.

Skills outcomes
Weekly seminar presentations will provide the opportunity for students to develop self-confidence and communication skills. The module focuses on a non-western political culture and will provide opportunities to develop greater cultural sensitivity.


The first part of the module introduces the key features of the Chinese political system and examines debates over the process of political and economic reform in China. The remainder of the module covers topics of particular importance in contemporary Chinese politics, such as nationalism, the media, human rights and the environment, as well as China’s future trajectory. (This syllabus is indicative and therefore subject to change.)

Teaching methods

Delivery typeNumberLength hoursStudent hours
Private study hours178.00
Total Contact hours22.00
Total hours (100hr per 10 credits)200.00

Private study

Students will need to read extensively from the module reading list to gain the necessary knowledge to understand the topics and debates studied.

Opportunities for Formative Feedback

Formative feedback on the group case study presentations and briefing papers will be provided to students during the semester. This will help students better understand how to link cases with theoretical concepts in preparation for their final essay.

Methods of assessment

Assessment typeNotes% of formal assessment
Essay1 x 3,000 End of Term essay100.00
Total percentage (Assessment Coursework)100.00

Normally resits will be assessed by the same methodology as the first attempt, unless otherwise stated

Reading list

The reading list is available from the Library website

Last updated: 03/08/2022


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