nl en

Governing China


Admission requirements

This course is intended for BA2 students in China studies, International Studies and Law. No prior knowledge is required.


How is today’s China governed? The answer to this question is essential for anyone engaging with contemprary China and, as China becomes an ever more influential and impactful actor at the global stage, highly useful for students interested in China’s impact on global economic, political and social questions. This course will offer tools to understand China’s governance in three areas: concepts, institutions and practices. It has two main aims: enhancing students’ knowledge of contemporary Chinese governance, and deepening research skills that enables students to carry out independent academic work.

A first, introductory lecture will provide a historical background for the situation of the present day. Subsequently, five modules consisting of a lecture and a tutorial each will take a deeper look at specific themes, including the architecture of the Party-State, China’s political jargon and specific governance areas. A last, concluding session will review the major themes of the course, and assist students in preparing their final essay.

During the five modules, students will write short essays in response to research questions. This will provide opportunities to deepen research and academic writing skills.

Course objectives

The objectives of this course are:

  • Enabling students to establish a sound knowledge basis on Chinese governance, including
    institutional, conceptual and pratical elements;

  • Gain insight into dominant academic theories in the field;

  • Use this knowledge and insight to perform autonomous research on specific Chinese governance questions.

Specific course objectives:

By the end of this course, students will be able to:

  • Identify relevant sources, theories and methods to carry out independent research;

  • Identify and contextualize political actors, structures and processes;

  • Apply academic tools to specific research questions;

  • Demonstrate appropriate cognitive, communicative and transferable skills to critically engage in academic debates on contemporary Chinese governance, and participate in and lead class debates.


The timetables are available through My Timetable.

Mode of instruction

  • Lecture

  • Seminar

  • Research

Assessment method

  • Presence + preparation of tutorials: 30%

  • Final essay: 70%

A student can only pass this course if all partial elements have been assessed. Resits for presence and preparation are not possible. A resit for the final essay will only be granted if (1) the student has actively participated in the class, as demonstrated by a positive presence and preparation result and (2) the student has failed both the essay and the complete class.

This class will be taught in English, however, students are permitted to choose to write their final essay in Dutch.

Students are welcome to contact the course convener for an appointment to inspect and receive feedback on their final essay within 30 days after results are posted on uSis.

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

Students will be expected to read the following book before the start of the class:

Pieke, Frank N. Knowing China: a twenty-first century guide. Cambridge University Press, 2016.

A syllabus with further required reading will be made available on Brightspace before the start of the class.


Enrolment through uSis is mandatory. General information about uSis is available on the website.

Registration Studeren à la carte and Contractonderwijs Registration

Not applicable.


Dr. R.J.E.H. Creemers