Politics in the People’s Republic of China
Tu/Th 9:30-10:50 PM
This course provides an overview of China’s recent history and its political system. We will begin
with a historical overview of China’s political development from late Qing dynasty to the present.
The remainder of the course will examine the institutional features of the Chinese political system
and the key challenges facing the CCP leadership, such as economic reforms, regime stability, ,
and succession. We will also invite world renowned experts in various areas of China studies to
speak in our class.
Department of Political Science
Office: Social Sciences Building (SSB) 377
Office Hours: Tuesday 3:30–5:30PM
Office: SSB 323
Office Hours: Thursday 2:00-3:00PM
Leo Y. Yang
Office: SSB 351
Office Hours: Wednesday 1:30-2:30PM
With a growing number of scholars studying contemporary China, UCSD is becoming an important center of research on China in the United States and in the world. At the 21st Century
China (21CC) center, we have over a dozen of world renowned China experts, whose research
areas cover Chinese economy, politics, foreign policies, history, literature, society, and so on. This
quarter, we are extremely to lucky to the following distinguished scholars as our guest lecturers.
(Feb 19) Susan Shirk, Chair and Research Professor, 21st Century China Center, on China’s
(Feb 26) Barry Naughton, Sokwanlok Professor of Chinese International, on New Economic
(Mar 12) Molly Roberts, Assistant Professor of Political Science, on Internet Censorship
Important Notes: (1) Materials covered by guest lecturers will be quizzed in the following lectures.
(2) Attendance will occasionally be taken at the beginning of the guest lectures.
You can purchase the following books from Amazon or UCSD Book Store:
Spence, Jonathan. The Search for Modern China, Third Edition. New York: W.W. Norton,
Lieberthal, Kenneth. Governing China: From Revolution Through Reform, Second Edition.
New York: W. W. Norton & Company, 2005.
* Note: Selected chapters will be scanned and uploaded to the Dropbox folder.
The following videos are part of the assignments. You can easily find most of them on Youtube.
Information from the videos is fair game for inclusion into quizzes.
China: A Century of Revolution, PBS documentary on China’s revolution from 1911 to
Morning Sun, produced by Carma Hinton on the Cultural Revolution and Mao’s red guards.
Available at: https://goo.gl/4FeBqw.
The Gate of Heavenly Peace, produced by Richard Gordon and Carma Hinton, on the 1989
Student Pro-Democracy Movement
China from the Inside, PBS documentary on contemporary China
The Chinese Mayor, made by Hao Zhou on a Chinese mayor in Datong, Shanxi Province
Under the Dome, made by Chai Jing on air pollution in China
Requirements and Grading (100%)
The requirements for this course are as follows:
1. Participation (25%). Students are expected to attend class regularly and complete the
reading and video assignments prior to each lecture. You will be quizzed in class on the
2. Midterm Exam (25%). An in-class, closed book midterm exam is scheduled on Feb 12 (Week 6).
3. Book review (25%). Students are required to submit a book review (around 1200 words)
prior to Feb 26 (Week 8).
4. Response paper (25%). Students are required write a response paper based on guest
lectures and/or required readings (around 1200 words). The response paper needs to be
submitted prior to the last lecture on Mar 14 (Week 10).
5. Bonus book review or group presentation (5%). Writing a bonus book review (around
1200 words), due Feb 19 (Week 7), or participating in a group presentation.
Participation (with Clickers)
You are expected to come to class meetings prepared to discuss central questions, puzzles, and
concerns that arise from course readings assigned for that day. Evidence-based research on
teaching and learning has documented a strong causal relationship between active participation/discussion and student learning. The risk of large courses like ours is that students miss
out on the opportunity to meaningfully discuss course materials, and thus learn less. For this
reason, I will use clickers.
1. Official counting period. We will begin experimenting with clickers during the first two
weeks, but the “official” counting period will not begin until Week 3 (Jan 22). This
should give you time to find a clicker to borrow or purchase.
2. Type of questions. In general, we will ask two types of questions: (1) factual questions and
(2) discussion questions. Factual questions focus on a central point from your readings, or
a point covered in lectures. Discussion questions ask that you take a stand on a particular
problem or issue using course materials as evidence.
• Factual questions. One point is given for correct answers, and 0.7 for participating.
• Discussion questions. You will receive full points (1 point) simply for participating.
• “Grace points.” In assessing your grade for this component of the course, you’re
allowed to miss 10% of all the questions asked throughout the class. This should
provide sufficient buffer in case you forget your clicker, or you need to miss class for
whatever reason. For example, if we ask 40 questions total over the quarter, and you
receive 35 points, you can still earn an “A” for this part — 10% of 40 is 4, and (35
+ 4)/40 = 97.5%. If you receive all 40 points, you will get (40 + 4)/40 = 110%.
In other words, your grade for this part can be as high as 27.5 points.
• One-time exemption. Throughout this quarter, you will have one chance of not
participating using your iClicker, either because you cannot physically come to class
that day or because you forget to bring your iClicker or it does not function properly
– in case that happens, please write to Eddie Yang (firstname.lastname@example.org) immediately
after class. Your score on that day will be the average score of the entire class. We
will not accept any other excuses or complaints.
• Reporting. You will be able to see your iClicker response records on TritonEd throughout the quarter (they may be lagged for a couple of days).
Each student is required to write one review (around 1200 words) on one of the books listed
below. The review should be submitted prior to Nov 14’s class. Early submission is allowed; late
submission will be penalized (a day = 1% of the total grade). Here are a few tips of how to
write a good book review:
1. Read the book thoroughly and take notes
2. Determine the major themes of the book and the author’s chief argument
3. Consider the evidence provided by the author to support his or her argument
4. Think about whether you agree or disagree with the author’s argument and why
5. Find materials to support your opinion
* Note that in this class, we focus on the argument laid out in the book you choose and/or
the facts and evidence presented by the author, instead of the book’s genre or the author’s
* The review should be written in English no matter what source you use
* Bonus points will be given to an additional book review (up to 5% of the total grade).
If you decide to write two reviews, one of the two books you choose has be written in
English. All reviews need to be written in English.
You may use additional sources of information, but each review should be mainly about one of
the books listed blow. If you have a book you’re particularly fond of, please let me know and I’ll
consider adding it to the list.
List of Books
• Immanuel Chung-yueh Hsu: The Rise of Modern China
• John King Fairbank: The Great Chinese Revolution 1800-1985
• Fei Xiaotong: From the Soil: The Foundations of Chinese Society
• Lin Yutang: My Country and My People
• Roderick MacFarquhar: Mao’s Last Revolution
• Susan L. Shirk, The Political Logic of Economic Reform in China
• Susan L. Shirk: China: Fragile Superpower
• Andrew Nathan: China’s Search for Security
• David Shambaugh: China Goes Global: The Partial Power
• Ezra F. Vogel: Deng Xiaoping and the Transformation of China
• Henry Kissinger: On China
• Bell, Daniel A.: The China Model: Political Meritocracy and the Limits of Democracy
• Evan Osnos: Age of Ambition: Chasing Fortune, Truth, and Faith in the New China
• Howard W. French: Everything Under the Heavens: How the Past Helps Shape China’s
Push for Global Power
• Peter Hessler: River Town: Two Years on the Yangtze
• Peter Hessler: Oracle Bones: A Journey Through Time in China
• Ian Johnson: Wild Grass: Three Portraits of Change in Modern China
• Anita Chan: Chen Village: Revolution to Globalization
• Henry M. Paulson: Dealing with China: An Insider Unmasks the New Economic Superpower
• M. Taylor Fravel: Strong Borders, Secure Nation: Cooperation and Conflict in China’s
• Thomas J. Christensen: The China Challenge: Shaping the Choices of a Rising Power
• Lin, Justin Yifu, Fang Cai, Zhou Li; The China Miracle: Development Strategy and Economic Reform
• 高华：《红太阳是怎样升起的: 延安整风运动的来龙去脉》
• 秦晖：《传统十论: 本土社会的制度, 文化及其变革》
Students are required to write a response paper based on a guest lecture and/or reading assignments appeared in the second half of the course.
• The response paper should be around 1200 words, not too short, but also not too long.
• To support your argument, you can use additional sources of information, such as other
books or research papers, as long as you demonstrate can sufficient understanding of the
guest lecture and recommended reading materials
• Response paper can be submitted any time after the mid-term and prior to the last lecture
(Mar 14). The deadline will be strictly enforced. Late submission will be penalized (a day
= 1% of the total grade).
Presentation (Bonus 5%)
You can also choose to participate in one group presentation on selected topics. You will receive
no more than 5 points if you give a presentation and write a bonus book review. The objectives
of student presentations are three-folded:
1. To encourage students to conduct original research on important issues facing today’s
2. To foster exchange of ideas among students from diverse backgrounds
3. To provide an opportunity for students to speak publicly and freely of their minds
• Infrastructure building in China
• Urbanization and the rural-urban divide
• China’s education system
• China’s military modernization
• China’s health-care system
• The One-child-policy and China’s demographic shift
• Trading with the World
• Investing outside China
• Pollution and environmental protection
• E-commerce in China
• China’s anti-corruption campaign
1. A group of three students will make a 20-minute presentation on a selected topic. To
promote exchange of diverse views, each group will consist of both native Chinese speakers
and non-native Chinese speakers.
2. You can volunteer to participate in a presentation on a specific topic. If the number of
volunteers exceeds the required number, the participants will be randomly selected using
a computer algorithm.
3. Each group member should take part in both the preparation and delivery of the presentation. Group members are expected to meet outside the classroom to prepare for the
4. A comparative perspective will be extremely beneficial. Comparisons can be made between
China and other developing and developed countries and/or between today’s China and
China in the past.
5. We allow and encourage diverse views to be presented provided that group members
understand and respect each other’s opinions prior to the presentation
6. 70% (3.5 points) of your grade will be based on team effort while the rest 30% (1.5 points)
will be based on individual performance.
7. We will ask the audience to cast votes at the end of each presentation. Bonus points (2
points) will be given to three teams that receive the highest evaluations from the audience.
Students are expected to maintain the highest standards of academic integrity. Cheating, plagiarism and other forms of academic dishonesty will not be tolerated and will be subject to
disciplinary action consistent with University rules and regulations. Students are expected to
familiarize themselves with University regulations regarding plagiarism and academic dishonesty.
If the instructor or TAs find that a significant part of your response paper or book reviewer
is work of other people without proper citation, we will report the situation to The Academic Integrity Office immediately. For more information, please visit: https://academicintegrity.
Course Materials and Dropbox folder
Throughout this class, we will use a Dropbox folder to distribute course materials, including
slides and reading assignments. Registering or installing Dropbox is not required.
Course Outline and Required Readings
All other readings will be made available on Tritoned. In the syllabus below, required readings
are indicated with a symbol. Optional readings are indicated with a • symbol.
Jan 8 (Tue) Introduction
Jan 10 (Thu) The New Republic and the Rise of the CCP
Video: China: A Century of Revolution, Part I (first half)
Governing China. Chapter 2, pp. 27-58.
• Meisner, Maurice. 1999. “The Significance of the Chinese Revolution in World History.”
Working Paper, Asia Research Centre, LSE.
Jan 15 (Tue) The Fall of the GMD State
Video: China: A Century of Revolution, Part I (second half)
The Search for Modern China, Chapter 18
• Video: Morning Sun
Jan 17 (Thu) Mao’s Era: Deepening the Revolution
Video: China: A Century of Revolution, Part II (first half)
The Search for Modern China, Chapter 20, pp. 505–513 (“The Hundred Flowers”)
• Mao, Zedong “On the Correct Handling of Contradictions among the People,” (《关于
正确处理人民内部矛盾的问题(讲话稿)》) in The Secret Speeches of Chairman Mao:
from the Hundred Flowers to the Great Leap Forward, Harvard University Press; 1989, pp.
Jan 22, 24 (Tue, Thu) Mao’s Era: The Great Leap Forward
Video: China: A Century of Revolution, Part II (second half)
The Search for Modern China, Chapter 21
• Governing China. Chapter 4, pp. 84-115.
Jan 29, 31 (Tue, Thu), Feb 5 (Tue) Mao’s Era: The Cultural Revolution
The Search for Modern China, Chapter 22
Video: Morning Sun
• Walder, Andrew G. & Yang Su. 2003. “The Cultural Revolution in the Countryside:
Scope, Timing and Human Impact.” The China Quarterly 173: 74-99.
Feb 7 (Thu) Midterm Review
Feb 12 (Tue) Midterm Exam
Feb 14 (Thu) Succession
Video: China: A Century of Revolution, Part III
Governing China. Chapter 5
• Deng Xiaoping. “On the Reform of the System of Party and State Leadership.” August
18, 1980. In Selected Works of Deng Xiaoping (1975-1982), pp. 302-325. 邓小平：《党
• “Resolution on Certain Questions in the History of Our Party Since the Founding of the
People’s Republic of China,”Sixth Plenary Session of the Eleventh Central Committee of
the Communist Party of China, June 27, 1981 (excerpts). 《关于建国以来党的 若干历
* Guest lecture by Professor Susan Shirk on Feb 19
Feb 19 (Tue) Political Institutions in the Reform Era
Governing China, Chapter 7
• Shirk, Susan. 1993. The Political Logic of Economic Reform in China, Chapter 9, pp.
Feb 21 (Thu) Politics in the Early Economic Era
China’s Great Economic Transformation, Chapter 1, by Loren Brandt and Thomas Rawski
• Huang, Yasheng. 2008. Capitalism with Chinese Characteristics: Entrepreneurship and
the State, Preface and Chapter 1, p. xiii - 45.
Feb 26 (Tue) Guest lecture by Professor Barry Naughton: New Economic Outlook
Naughton, Barry. “Is China Socialist?” Journal of Economic Perspective, 2017. Available
• Video. Naughton, Barry. 21 March 2011. “The State of the Chinese Economy.” USC
U.S. China Institute. Available at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AKpsWiUTEgQ.
• Schuman, Michael. 2013. “Can China Escape the Middle-Income Trap?” Time.
Feb 28, Mar 5 (Thu, Tue) Tian’anmen and Its Aftermath
Video: The Gate of Heavenly Peace
• The Search for Modern China, Chapter 26
• Nathan, Andrew J. 2001. “The Tiananmen Papers.” Foreign Affairs 80(1): 2-48.
• Zhao, Suisheng. 1993. “Deng Xiaoping’s Southern Tour: Elite Politics in post-Tiananmen
China.” Asian Survey : 739-756.
Mar 7 (Thu) China’s Growth Model in the Post-Tian’anmen Era
Video: The Chinese Mayor
Xu, Chenggang, “The fundamental institutions of China’s reforms and development”,
Journal of Economic Literature, 49(4), 1076–1151
• Montinola, Gabriella, Yingyi Qian, & Barry Weingast. 1995. ”Federalism, Chinese Style:
The Political Basis for Economic Success in China” World Politics 48(1): 50-81.
Mar 12 (Tue) Guest lecture by Professor Molly Roberts: Propaganda and Internet Control
Margaret E. Roberts, Fear, Friction and Flooding, Chapter 5.
• King, Gary; Pan, Jennifer; and Margaret E. Roberts. 2013. “How Censorship in China Allows Government Criticism but Silences Collective Expression.” American Political Science
Review 107(2): 326–343.
• Stockmann, Daniella & Gallagher, Mary E. 2011. “Remote Control: How the Media
Sustain Authoritarian Rule in China.” Comparative Political Studies 44(4): 436-467.
Mar 14 (Thu) Conclusion: The “China Model” and Its Challenges
Shambaugh, David. 2015. “The Coming Chinese Crackup.” The Wall Street Journal.
Daniel Bell et al. “Is the China Model Better Than Democracy?” The China File. Available
Video. Eirk Li: “A Tale of Two Political Systems.” Available at: https://www.youtube.
Video. Dambisa Moyo: “Is China the New Idol for Emerging Economies?” Available at:
Video. Yasheng Huang: “Does Democracy Stifle Economic Growth?” Available at:
• “Why Do Polls Show More Satisfied People in China?” 25 April 2011. China Daily Online. Available at: http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/opinion/2011 ...
Purchase answer to see full