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China and Global Cyberspace (ResMA)


Admission requirements

This course is open to students of the MA Asian Studies (research). Students from other programmes are kindly referred to the course description of the regular MA course.


In February 2014, at the establishment of the Central Leading Group for Cybersecurity and Informatization, Xi Jinping declared that China should turn into a “strong cyber power”. At that time, China’s position in the global Internet landscape was fragmented: China did not play a strong role in global Internet governance structures and processes, nor did it have a leading role in technology and innovation. Yet in some areas, such as cyber espionage, China’s activities were a prominent concern.

Since them, China’s global footprint in cyberspace has developed rapidly. It is attempting to gain a greater say in global governance, build up world-leading technological capabilities, and develop a coherent regional engagement and development strategy. At the same time, its very rise is prompting security concerns about the potential of conflict in cyberspace, and worries about the possible spread of China’s illiberal approach to the Internet.

This course will explore the rapidly changing of China’s engagement with the global Internet. In particular, it will address the following topics:

  • Introduction to the global Internet governance landscape

  • Cybersecurity and informatization: Restructuring the Internet governance architecture.

  • Building a strong cyber power: China’s engagement with the global Internet order

  • Telling China’s Story: The Wuzhen World Internet Conference

  • Regional Initiatives (OBOR, Online Silk Road)

  • Security: Cyber conflict, state behaviour and norms

  • Technical Internet governance

  • Industrial policy, indigenous innovation and standards

  • The global digital economy

  • Cyber terrorism and cyber crime

Note that this course is designed to complement the course “The Politics of Digital China”, which focuses more on China’s domestic environment.

Course objectives

The overall objective of the course is to enable students to learn to identify the various topics connected to global governance in cyberspace, and assess China’s role within them. More specifically, they will learn to assess how China’s overall domestic development agenda and its global policy stance are increasingly interwoven. Moreover, while the focus of this course lies in technology-related areas, students are invited to put the topics addressed in the course in the broader context of shifts in global affairs.

Specific learning objectives

  • Mapping the various policy areas in global cyberspace governance, and learning to identify China’s stance and the drivers of its policies there.

  • Being able to respond to targeted research questions on the basis of various kinds of literature, present findings and lead class discussions.

  • Formulating an original research question and writing a paper of commensurate academic quality, preferably using primary sources.


Visit MyTimetable.

Mode of instruction

Seminar. With the exception of the first two (introductory) lectures, students will be asked to prepare a number of research questions, which will be addressed on the basis of required readings and students’ own research. Two sessions will be kept as open Q&A sessions for the term paper.

Course load

Total course load 1 EC * 28 hours 280 hours
Lectures/seminars 24 hours
Extra contact hours ResMA students 6 hours
Readings 100 hours
Seminar prepraration 50 hours
Term paper 100 hours

Assessment method

Academic Integrity

Students should familiarize themselves with the notion of academic integrity and the ways in which this plays out in their own work. A good place to start is this page. Plagiarism will not be tolerated. Students may not substantially reuse texts they have previously submitted in this or other courses. Minor overlap with previous work is allowed as long as it is duly noted in citation.
Students must submit their assignment(s) to Brightspace through turnitin, so they can be checked for plagiarism. Submission via email is not accepted.

Assessment and weighing

Partial Assessment Weighing
Presence + participation in seminars 30%
Presentation of research questions/short essay 30%
Term paper 40%

Further instructions will be given in the course reader.

The final mark for this course is formed by the weighted average. In order to pass the course, students must obtain an overall mark of 5.50 (=6) or higher.

The course is an integrated whole. All assessment parts must be completed in the same academic year. No partial marks can be carried over into following years.


A resit is only possible for the term paper (40%), if (1) the original submission constituted a serious attempt; (2) the student failed both the paper and the full course; and (3) it is still possible to obtain a passing grade.

Exam Review

Students may request an oral elucidation of the assessment within 30 days after publication of the grade.

Reading list

A reader will be made available before the start of the course, through Blackboard. Please note that due to the nature of the course, it is likely that a considerable number of readings will come from primary sources (which will be made available in translation where necessary), blogs and news media articles. It may also be the case that new readings are proposed in step with changes or events in the field.

For the Research MA students additional readings will be determined by the convener at a later stage taking into account the students’ fields of interest. The extra sessions will be used to discuss the additional literature.


Students are required to register through uSis. To avoid mistakes and problems, students are strongly advised to register in uSis through the activity number which can be found in the timetable in the column under the heading “USIS-Actnbr.”. More information on uSis is available in Dutch and English. You can also have a look at the FAQ.

Not being registered, means no permission to attend this course. See also the webpage on course and exam enrolment for registration deadlines and more information on how to register.


Dr. R.J.E.H. Creemers.


Students with disabilities

The university is committed to supporting and accommodating students with disabilities as stated in the university protocol (especially pages 3-5). Students should contact Fenestra Disability Centre at least four weeks before the start of their courses to ensure that all necessary academic accommodations can be made in time conform the abovementioned protocol.