POLS3308 Politics in Greater China

6 points
(see Timetable)
Semester 1UWA (Perth)Face to face
Details for undergraduate courses
  • Level 3 option in the Political Science and International Relations major sequence
  • The area of knowledge for this unit is Society and Culture
  • Category B broadening unit for students
  • Level 3 elective
This unit explores the various historical, social, political and international dimensions of contemporary China, whose global rise has caught the world's imagination due to its newly acquired economic and military prowess. The unit is focused on the major issues and policies of the People's Republic of China (PRC), particularly the political economy of its reform and modernisation drive, the country's changing political institutions, expanding civil society and prospects of democratisation. The other components of a 'Greater China' is also examined. Thus, political transformation in Taiwan, Hong Kong and global Chinese diasporas are studied for their interactions with, and impact on, the mainland China.

Specifically, the teaching and learning of the unit progresses through four integrated topical parts. Part one provides an analytical framework by presenting knowledge of China's pre-1949 political history and the fundamentals of the PRC as a party-state, and by critiquing the various scholarly approaches to the study of China. Part two investigates PRC politics chronologically, from Mao's class struggle and Cultural Revolution to the Hu-Wen regime's soft authoritarianism with more emphasis on social justice and human needs. Part three examines the major political phenomena during the reform era including leadership transition, growth of civil society, issues of minorities (Tibetans and Muslims), foreign policy transformation, social and environmental crises, mass discontent and protest movements, trends of political liberalisation and signs of democratisation. Part four looks at the developments in the 'other Chinas', namely politics of democratisation and unification in Taiwan and Hong Kong, and the social and political implications of the rapid expansion of the overseas Chinese communities.
Students are able to (1) explain, and engage critically with, the conceptual frameworks, techniques of investigation, core generalisations, and key debates associated with the academic study of politics in China; (2) identify major themes in the evolving politics of the PRC; (3) demonstrate an advanced understanding of the ideologies, the political institutions, the leadership and its strategies and policies, of the PRC; (4) describe the dramatic socioeconomic developments in the PRC in recent decades and explain their political implications, and demonstrate an understanding of the nature and complexity of the major political, social and environmental crises created during the reform era; (5) describe and explain political transformation in Taiwan, Hong Kong, global Chinese communities and their interactions with mainland China; (6) apply the knowledge acquired to the analysis of China-related current affairs; (7) communicate independently generated arguments and critical analysis of published research in a coherent and logical manner in both written and oral forms; (8) work collaboratively on substantial research or analytical tasks as a member of a small group, providing and assimilating critical commentary; (9) demonstrate research skills appropriate for locating, assessing and making sophisticated use of relevant primary and secondary materials, including sources from China; (10) demonstrate advanced skills of problem analysis and critical reasoning, strongly informed by relevant theory; and (11) undertake independent, enquiry-based learning and research which reflects advanced knowledge of the subfield.
Indicative assessments in this unit are as follows: (1) a major essay; (2) tutorial presentation and participation; and (3) an 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)
Associate Professor Jie Chen
Unit rules
any Level 2 POLS unit
POLS2208 Politics in Greater China
Contact hours
lectures: 24 hours; tutorials: 11 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.
  • 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.