ASIA3003 Social Issues in Contemporary China

6 points
(see Timetable)
Semester 1UWA (Perth)Face to face
Non-standard teaching periodHong KongFace to face
Details for undergraduate courses
  • Level 3 core unit in the CHNSB Chinese Studies; CHNSP Chinese Studies; CHNSI Chinese Studies; CHNSA Chinese Studies major sequences
  • Level 3 option in the Asian Studies major sequence
  • The area of knowledge for this unit is Society and Culture
  • Category B broadening unit for students
  • Level 3 elective
This unit provides a comprehensive introduction to the major social, cultural and political issues that characterise contemporary China. A number of important issues are explored including the ongoing transformation of the Communist Party of China and its relationship with society; the development of a nascent civil society and public sphere; the current state of rural China; the features of urbanisation; the significance of increased mobility and migration; the impact of economic development on social life and the environment; various issues relating to ethnic identity and culture; the state of gender relations; the role of intellectual life and spaces for social critique; and the significance of globalisation for Chinese society and culture in general.

Much of what is assumed to be known about China involves certain presuppositions and assumptions about the nature of political, social and cultural change. Students learn to distinguish the different presuppositions and assumptions which inform different approaches (e.g. media, business and state) to understanding China in the modern world. Students gain a solid base of knowledge and research skills relevant to the study of China in Asian Studies and Chinese Studies. They gain critical knowledge of the important social and political forces which are shaping contemporary China. They are trained and given the opportunity to apply various theories and modes of critical thought relating to the study of contemporary China.
Students are able to (1) evaluate and describe critically major social issues in contemporary China; (2) critically relate these themes to important political, social and cultural trends in China; (3) distinguish between different discourses about China by various interest groups (e.g. states, media, business); (4) utilise a range of social and cultural theories to the issues they research; (5) express information and ideas coherently and logically in written form; (6) express information and ideas coherently and logically orally; and (7) recognise and practise ethical scholarship and develop more advanced research skills related to the discipline.
Indicative assessments in this unit are as follows: (1) participation (including seminar presentation); (2) research essay; and (3) examination. Further information is available in the unit outline.

Supplementary assessment is not available in this unit except in the case of a bachelor's pass degree student who has obtained a mark of 45 to 49 overall and is currently enrolled in this unit, and it is the only remaining unit that the student must pass in order to complete their course.
Unit Coordinator(s)
Dr Yu Tao
Unit rules
any Level 2 ASIA unit
Level 2 CHIN unit
Level 2 ANTH unit
ASIA2211 Social Issues in Contemporary China
Contact hours
lectures: 20 hours; seminars: 9 hours
Unit Outline
Semester 1-2020 [SEM-1-2020]
Non-standard teaching period [TS-QTR-A2-2020]
  • The availability of units in Semester 1, 2, etc. was correct at the time of publication but may be subject to change.
  • All students are responsible for identifying when they need assistance to improve their academic learning, research, English language and numeracy skills; seeking out the services and resources available to help them; and applying what they learn. Students are encouraged to register for free online support through GETSmart; to help themselves to the extensive range of resources on UWA's STUDYSmarter website; and to participate in WRITESmart and (ma+hs)Smart drop-ins and workshops.
  • Books and other material wherever listed may be subject to change. Book lists relating to 'Preliminary reading', 'Recommended reading' and 'Textbooks' are, in most cases, available via the Booktopia Textbook Finder, which has the functionality to search by course code, course, ISBN and title, and may also be posted or available at the appropriate school's administrative offices. Where texts are listed in the unit description above, an asterisk (*) indicates that the book is available in paperback.