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Contemporary China B: Politics, Economy 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 the Chinese themselves cope with both opportunities and obstacles available for 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)

  • Develop 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.


For timetable see the Chinastudies website

Mode of instruction

Lecture course (12 weeks x 1 hour session) followed by seminar course (12 weeks x 1 hour session).

The work-load for this course will roughly be as follows:

  • Lecture & seminar time: 24 hours

  • Course preparation and assignments: 72 hours

  • Researching & writing term paper: 44 hours
    Total: 140 hours

Assessment method

In order to pass this course, participants will have to pass both of the assessment components:

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

  • Term paper: 60% of final grade.

The language used for both presentations and the term paper is English. Partial results cannot be compensated.


A list of weekly readings will be posted on blackboard the week before the start of the semester.
Additional information (lecture slides, useful websites, etc…) will also be found on blackboard over the course of the semester.

Reading list

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


Exchange and Study Abroad students, please see “the Study in Leiden website” for information on how to apply

Contact information

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