Module Catalogue 2018/19

POL2084 : Contemporary Chinese Politics (Inactive)

  • Inactive for Year: 2018/19
  • Module Leader(s): Dr Michael Barr
  • Owning School: Geography, Politics & Sociology
  • Teaching Location: Newcastle City Campus
Semester 1 Credit Value: 20
ECTS Credits: 10.0
Pre Requisites
Pre Requisite Comment


Co Requisites
Co Requisite Comment



• To provide a comprehensive introduction to Chinese politics, with particular emphasis on the Reform era
• To understand key political strtuctures, actors, and processes within mainland China
• To understand a range of key issues in Chinese domestic and foreign policy
• To situate the rise of China within its historical and geopolitical context
• To give students a critical appreciation of the complexity of modern Chinese politics and to enable them to critically assess competing claims made by both China and by Western governments

Outline Of Syllabus

How has China managed to rise so rapidly? What are the geopolitical implications of its newfound power? This module aims to provide a well rounded assessment of modern Chinese politics, with particular emphasis on events since the 1978 Open Door Policy initiated by Deng Xiaoping. We will first examine the historical context behind China's recent ascent (the so-called ‘Century of Humiliation’), then look at the workings of the Communist Party and the possibilities of political reform. The bulk of the course will consider a range of key issues, including the revival of Confucian politics and changing nature of state and society relations, critical problems posed by the growing rural/urban divide, the rise of nationalism and its consequences, Chinese soft power, the propaganda war over Tibet and human rights, Sino-US relations, China's search for energy and resources in Africa, and other select foreign and security policies.

Learning Outcomes

Intended Knowledge Outcomes

• Understanding of key actors, organisations, and processes in modern Chinese government and politics, building on concepts learned through previous politics modules
• Insight into the historical and geopolitical context which influences Chinese politics and policy-makers
• Understanding of important domestic and foreign policy issues effecting the development of China and its role and reception as a global power

Intended Skill Outcomes

• Enhancement of written (and bibliographical) skills through essays and oral communicative skills in seminars
• Ability to think analytically and to synthesise information about a vital topic in international politics
• Skills of critical thinking and evaluation, particularly on competing arguments made by and about contemporary China

Graduate Skills Framework

Graduate Skills Framework Applicable: Yes
  • Cognitive/Intellectual Skills
    • Critical Thinking : Assessed
    • Data Synthesis : Present
    • Active Learning : Assessed
    • Literacy : Assessed
    • Information Literacy
      • Source Materials : Assessed
      • Synthesise And Present Materials : Assessed
      • Use Of Computer Applications : Present
  • Self Management
    • Self Awareness And Reflection : Present
    • Planning and Organisation
      • Goal Setting And Action Planning : Present
      • Decision Making : Present
    • Personal Enterprise
      • Innovation And Creativity : Present
      • Initiative : Present
      • Independence : Present
      • Problem Solving : Present
      • Adaptability : Present
  • Interaction
    • Communication
      • Oral : Present
      • Interpersonal : Present
      • Written Other : Assessed
    • Team Working
      • Relationship Building : Present
  • Application
    • Social Cultural Global Awareness : Present

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture221:0022:00N/A
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion182:0082:00N/A
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching101:0010:00N/A
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesDrop-in/surgery41:004:00N/A
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study182:0082:00N/A
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

Lectures are crucial to provide students with an introduction to key ideas, actors, and events of Chinese politics. Lectures make extensive use of power point slides to help re-enforce students’ understanding. The lecturers own expertise and research into these topics provides engaging examples and contributes towards the goal of research informed teaching. Seminars will allow students to follow up these ideas and issues by asking questions and debating amongst themselves. It provides the context for students to articulate their knowledge and understanding and to help them prepare for written assessment.

Reading Lists

Assessment Methods

The format of resits will be determined by the Board of Examiners

Description Length Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Written Examination1201A50N/A
Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Essay1M50One x 2000 word essay
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

The essay will help enable students to develop skills of critical analysis and provide an opportunity for them to hone their abilities to reason systematically and write clearly, as well as develop bibliographical skills. The essay will also allow students to explore a topic in depth and permit them to discuss and analyse, in brief, debates in Chinese politics. The exam will test students for their broad knowledge of Chinese politics. These assessments act in tandem so as to test students on both their broad and specific understanding of the module content.


Past Exam Papers

General Notes


Disclaimer: The information contained within the Module Catalogue relates to the 2018/19 academic year. In accordance with University Terms and Conditions, the University makes all reasonable efforts to deliver the modules as described. Modules may be amended on an annual basis to take account of changing staff expertise, developments in the discipline, the requirements of external bodies and partners, and student feedback. Module information for the 2018/19 entry will be published here in early-April 2018. Queries about information in the Module Catalogue should in the first instance be addressed to your School Office.