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Introduction to Contemporary China B: Politics, Economics, and Society


Admission requirements

Successful completion of the BA1 course Introduction to Contemporary China A.

Alternatively, having read the books below:

  • Mitter, Rana (2008), Modern China - A Very Short Introduction. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

  • Naughton, Barry J. (2018), The Chinese Economy: Adaptation and Growth (2nd ed.). Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.

  • Pieke, Frank (2016), Knowing China: A Twenty-First Century Guide. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.


This course engages with the structural social and political developments that are taking place in China, both in the rural and urban areas. There will be a focus on the social effects of the processes which shape society, the media, and perceptions of China´s international role. Students will learn how Chinese citizens themselves cope with both opportunities and obstacles available to them in a changing society. Problems involved in governing and controlling China’s rapidly changing society will have our special attention.

Course objectives

Participants in this course will acquire the following:

  • Basic understanding of principles of social science research and its application in the Chinese context.

  • The ability to further expand and structure knowledge about contemporary China, intended as a first step towards specialization.

  • Further academic skills for study and research, including collecting, evaluating, and applying information; the ability to read and listen critically and analytically; the ability to present verbally and in written form (active participation, class discussion, debating, writing term paper).

  • An understanding of social activities and situations in contemporary China, including the skills to engage in informed discussion about them.

The course will provide the necessary background knowledge for the pursuit of advanced BA3 courses on Chinese politics, economics, and international relations. Completion of this course will in many cases be a pre-requisite for taking such higher-level courses.


The timetables are avalable through My Timetable.

Mode of instruction

Lectures & Seminars

Assessment method

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

In order to pass this course, participants will have to complete the following assessment components:

  • Regular course work (presentation): 40% of final grade.

  • Term paper: 60% of final grade.

The language used for both presentations and the term paper is English. Late submissions of the term-paper will incur a grade deduction, and failure to meet the formatting and referencing guidelines provided in this course will lead to a fail grade and the need for a resit. Note that submissions will be checked for plagiarism; fraud will lead to severe repercussions, in line with university guidelines.

Course work requirements

The course work will consist of two tasks:

  • Bi-weekly 'news flash' assignments;

  • A (group work) presentation (grading criteria: content, style & argument, and presentation).

Details on these assignments and their assessment will be available on Brightspace at the start of the semester.


There is no resit for the course work, but course work grades can be compensated with the essay grade. Only failed essay attempts may be re-written, and only a previous submission for the first attempt qualifies students for the resit. First attempts that received a passing mark (5.5 or higher) cannot be improved through further revision. Further rules on the resit will be announced at the start of the semester.

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 My Studymap is mandatory.


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

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