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Unit information: China's International Relations in 2015/16

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Unit name China's International Relations
Unit code SPAIM0020
Credit points 20
Level of study M/7
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 2 (weeks 13 - 24)
Unit director Dr. King
Open unit status Not open




School/department School of Sociology, Politics and International Studies
Faculty Faculty of Social Sciences and Law

Description including Unit Aims

The aim of this unit is to critically examine the social, economic, political, and strategic dimensions and determinants of the evolving International Relations (both regionally and internationally) of the People’s Republic of China. Given its emergence on the world stage and its growing role in international institutions, this is a recent development deserving of assessment. The unit will consider multiple dimensions of the PRC’s modern foreign policy: its historical foundation; the role of nationalism; strategic priorities and goals of its regional relations, its engagement with world political, economic and military powers, as well as its role in the bloc of developing nations; and the challenges represented by its development and participation in the international arena. The goal is to provide students with empirical material about Chinese politics and theoretical interpretations of this material since 1978, so that they can understand the major players, institutions, events and challenges in Chinese politics.

Intended Learning Outcomes

Upon completing the Unit students will:

  1. be able to critically assess the factors which influence and determine the Foreign Policy-making process;
  2. have developed their knowledge and critical understanding of economic and political relations between China and its International and Regional partners
  3. have enhanced their understanding of China and its behaviour and goals in the international system.

Teaching Information

1 hour lecture combined with 1 hour seminar. This format will allow the tutor to deliver a capsule summary of the week’s main topics in ways that explicitly and implicitly link into the unit’s learning outcomes. The seminars, which will include weekly presentations, put the onus on the students to address these same concerns also directed to the learning outcomes.

Assessment Information

Formative Assessment: Students will each be required to do one 10-minute presentation that critically and synthetically engages with the week’s relevant readings explicitly linked to the objectives of the learning outcomes (learning outcomes 1, 2 and 3).

Summative Assessment: Students will be required to write a 3,500-4,000 word essay on a choice of titles provided by the tutor. The titles set by the tutor will address one or more of the broad concerns of the unit identified in the learning outcomes (learning outcomes 1, 2 and 3).

Reading and References

  • David M. Lampton, (ed.), The making of Chinese foreign and security policy in the era of reform, 1978-2000, (2001) Stanford: Stanford University Press.
  • David Shambaugh (ed.), Power Shift: China and Asia’s New Dynamics, (2005) London: University of California Press.
  • Andrew Nathan and Robert S. Ross, the Great Wall and the Empty Fortress China’s Search for Security, (1997) London: WW. Norton & Company.
  • Xuanli Liao (2006), Chinese Foreign Policy Think tanks and China’s Policy towards Japan, Hong Kong: Chinese University of Hong Kong
  • Thomas Robinson and David Shambaugh (1998), China Foreign Policy: theory and practice, Oxford: Clarendon Press
  • Suisheng Zhao (2004) Chinese foreign policy: pragmatism and strategic behavior, New York: East Gate Publishing