Studying online

There are now 2 possible online modes for units:

Units with modes Online timetabled and Online flexible are available for any student to self-enrol and study online.

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Unit Overview


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.

6 points
(see Timetable)
Semester 1UWA (Perth)Face 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
  • Level 3 elective

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.

Student may be offered supplementary assessment in this unit if they meet the eligibility criteria.

Unit Coordinator(s)
Dr Yu Tao
Unit rules
Successful completion of
any one level 2 Unit(s) from the School of Social Sciences
or Humanities
ASIA2211 Social Issues in Contemporary China
Contact hours
lectures: 20 hours
seminars: 9 hours
  • 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.
  • Unit readings, including any essential textbooks, are listed in the unit outline for each unit, one week prior the commencement of study. The unit outline will be available via the LMS and the UWA Handbook one week prior the commencement of study. Reading lists and essential textbooks are subject to change each semester. Information on essential textbooks will also be made available on the Essential Textbooks. This website is updated regularly in the lead up to semester so content may change. It is recommended that students purchase essential textbooks for convenience due to the frequency with which they will be required during the unit. A limited number of textbooks will be made available from the Library in print and will also be made available online wherever possible. Essential textbooks can be purchased from the commercial vendors to secure the best deal. The Student Guild can provide assistance on where to purchase books if required. Books can be purchased second hand at the Guild Secondhand bookshop (second floor, Guild Village), which is located on campus.
  • Contact hours provide an indication of the type and extent of in-class activities this unit may contain. The total amount of student work (including contact hours, assessment time, and self-study) will approximate 150 hours per 6 credit points.