Chinese Politics

The People’s Republic of China (PRC) is one of the most dynamic countries in the world today. It represents approximately one quarter of the world’s population, sustains the largest bureaucracy in the history of the world, and currently possesses of a political economic system that combines elements of both communism and capitalism. As China has undergone revolution, reform, and rapid economic and social changes in the last century, this course aims to provide students with a background on major political elements in China today. Students will be introduced to the basic concepts of political processes, political institutions, and political events in modern China.

This course consists of three components. First, we will examine the role of formal political institutions—the Communist Party, the People’s Liberation Army, village-level elections and governance, and economic reform—in shaping authoritarian resilience and democratization in the country. Second, we also examine how other forms of politics—social movements, media, gender, and migration—have been persistent in China. Third, we will end the course with evaluating China’s relations with its neighboring countries, as well as with the international community.

Download the syllabus (Smith College)


Feedback from students

“Learning about very focused understandings of politics in China was fascinating, as it allowed for wider comparisons to other aspects of the country and other nations as well.”

“The variety of activities in class make it so much more interesting. The polls are incredibly interesting as it gives students more freedom to express their opinions without feeling judged. The presentations are also very useful, as well as having us write questions for every reading.”

“This instructor is very knowledgeable in her subject, but also in how to promote discussion among students of this age. She is willing to be humorous at times, but serious at others, and this balance helps to make the class discussions very consistent with the needs of the class on any given day.”

“Very knowledgeable, very concerned with her students’ well-being, excited to welcome students to office hours and to discuss individuals’ research assignments, very willing to receive constructive criticism on her teaching and to adapt that teaching to the needs of her current class”

“Professor Liu makes learning experience fun and she is always eager to help.”

“I thought the topics and respective readings for the course were all really good. I also appreciated that the professor tried to give us varied assignments.”

“Overall, the instruction was fair and all inclusive as she advocated for everyone to speak and give incite into what we were discussing. She was able to answer most questions and admitted where her blind spots were with certain topics. Very calm class environment.”

“Good at guiding class discussion and providing important topic questions from what we had asked about the Google forum document. Assignments were fairly graded and turned back in a timely fashion.”

“I like how much Professor Liu is willing to change her schedule to accommodate her students. She is willing to listen to us and what we want, and I genuinely appreciate that from her. In addition, Professor Liu is knowledgeable, which is useful.”

“I appreciated that the professor was eager to get our feedback for how to improve her teaching through the mid-course evaluation we did. The professor also had a good sense of humor and was easy to talk to in office hours.”

“Intelligent and knows her material. I really liked the polls. Fun class as well.”

“Such a wonderful professor! Would love to take more classes with her!”