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Political Communication in 21st century China


Admission requirements

While there are no official entry requirements for students wishing to take this module, students are generally expected to have taken politics courses such as the BA2 module “Introduction to Contemporary China B” and “Governing China”. Since the primary sources that this course deals with are largely in Chinese, students are expected to possess good Chinese language skills. Experience with media analysis will be helpful, however students with no previous exposure to political analysis of language and visual communication will be able to acquire the necessary knowledge throughout the course.

Students that wish to write their BA Thesis in this course will have to receive permission from the programme. Applying for supervision can be done through this form.


This course deals with the political dimension of communication in China. The course approach is topical: students will first be introduced to various theories concerning communication practices and the analysis of written, spoken, and visual materials. They will then analyze specific media genres, ranging from advertisements, TV programmes, news broadcasts and talk shows, to staged events. Students will explore how various forces (social, political, economic) interact to create the various media contents, and what political messages such media products and media events relay to the audiences.

Course objectives

Participants in this course will acquire the following:

  • An understanding of theories dealing with political communication processes (including discourse analysis and semiotics).

  • The ability to relate content to production, distribution, and reception.

  • The capacity to prepare multi-level media products for detailed analysis and academic presentation, for instance by creating transcripts, shot protocols, and shot graphics.

  • A toolbox of methods to identify and analyze political themes, such as security, welfare, or national identity in multi-media material.


The timetables are avalable through My Timetable.

Mode of instruction


Assessment method


In order to pass this course, the following will be required of participants:

  • Regular course assignments (40% of final mark).

  • Research paper (60% of final mark).

Late submissions will be subject to grade deduction.

Regular, punctual attendance, thorough preparation of reading material, and continuous participation in plenary discussions are also expected.


There will be no resit for the course work, but individual submissions can compensate each other.

For the term paper, only a previous submission for the first attempt qualifies students for the resit, and only if that submission scored a failing grade. First attempts that received a passing mark (5.5 or higher) cannot be improved through further revision.

Grading of the resit will incorporate part of the grade for the first attempt. The grade for each component after a resit will be calculated as follows:

  • 25% of the first attempt, plus

  • 75% of the second attempt.

Note that this seminar is also a thesis course: students who wish to write their thesis in this module will still need to complete the course work, but their final grade will be the thesis grade; see the section in the Studiegids for more information about graduate theses.

Inspection and feedback

How and when an exam review will take place will be disclosed together with the publication of the exam results at the latest. If a student requests a review within 30 days after publication of the exam results, an exam review will have to be organized.

Reading list

There is no mandatory textbook for this course. All required readings will be announced on Brightspace and will be available through the Asian Studies library.


Enrolment through MyStudyMap is mandatory.

General information about course and exam enrolment is available on the [website](


  • For substantive questions, contact the lecturer listed in the right information bar.

  • For questions about enrolment, admission, etc, contact the Education Administration Office: Vrieshof