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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 “Government and Politics of Modern 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.


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 visual materials. They will then analyze specific media genres, ranging from advertisements, TV drama series, news broadcasts and talk shows, to staged events such as the Beijing Olympics opening ceremony or the Shanghai World Exposition. 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 such as television drama series 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.


See timetable

Mode of instruction


Course Load

The work-load for this course roughly be 140 hours:

  • Plenary sessions: 24 hours.

  • Readings and assignments: 76 hours.

  • Final paper: 40 hours.

Assessment method

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

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

  • Research paper (60% of final mark).
    Regular, punctual attendance, thorough preparation of reading material, and continuous participation in plenary discussions are also expected.


will be used for all in-course communication. All course materials will be announced and all assignments assessed through blackboard.

Reading list

The general required reading will be announced throughout the course. A recommended introduction available at the Sinology library is:

Zhu, Ying & Berry, Chris (eds.) (2008), TV China: A Reader on New Media, Bloomington : Indiana University Press.


Registration through uSis. Not registered, means no permission to attend this course. S

Registration Studeren à la carte and Contractonderwijs

Registration Studeren à la carte
Registration Contractonderwijs


For questions or additional information please contact your study coordinator or the lecturer:
Dr. F.A. Schneider