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The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology

Chinese Politics Part 1 – China and Political Science

The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology via Coursera


This course offers a conceptual framework for understanding China that highlights the intersection of politics and economics. It shows that rather than develop into a full blown market economy, state and party officials at all levels of the political system maintain significant influence in economic development. Such a “political” economy has had both positive and negative outcomes, which we will assess in detail. We also look at the origins, views, backgrounds and relations among leaders, and how those leaders make decisions about public policy and try to get those decisions implemented down through the system. China has few formal institutions through which citizens can participate in politics, but we will study the strategies Chinese people use to try to influence their leaders’ decisions. Finally, we assess China’s future and whether rapid economic development and the emergence of a vibrant middle class will push China towards greater democracy or whether the single party system is likely to survive into the future. The course is a quite useful background for Chinese Politics Part 2 – China and the World. Course Overview video:


  • Orientation and Module 1: Models of the Chinese Political System and the Structure of the Chinese Party/State
    • Before you start with the content for Module 1, please watch the Course Overview, review the Assignments and Grading page, and introduce yourself to other learners who will be studying this course with you.
  • Module 2: Elite Politics in China
  • Module 3: Policy Process in China
  • Module 4: Understanding Societal Engagement in Politics in China
  • Module 5: China’s Domestic and International Political Economy
  • Module 6: China’s Future: Democratization or “Flexible Authoritarianism”
  • Final Exam and Course Evaluation
    • Now is time to test your understanding on the entire course. Take the final exam and complete the post-course survey. Your valuable feedback will certainly help us improve future iterations of the course.

Taught by



4.8 rating, based on 40 Class Central reviews

4.8 rating at Coursera based on 332 ratings

Start your review of Chinese Politics Part 1 – China and Political Science

  • Anonymous
    I really enjoyed this course and I value this course, because here, in my country there is no easy way to learn anything about countries of the far-east.
  • Anonymous
    I learned a lot about the Chinese political system in this amazing course. The lectures were easily accessible and the professor was an excellent teacher.
  • Anonymous
    In an interdependent world where China is playing a more vital role in the global economy, this course dives into discussing China`s polical economy model. It provides a wide range of Chinese politics in terms of how power is distributed and exercised, how policies are affected in relations to elites` attitude and also the historical development of China`s productive forces relative to the period of reform.

    It is a very good course presented simply by Prof. David Zweig.
  • Profile image for Chloe L
    Chloe L
    enhance my understanding of the political structure of modern China
    will recommend to someone who want to know more the circumstance of China and how the operation works in China government
  • Anonymous
    This course has pleasantly surprised me with its depth and clarity. Professor David Zweig has an absolutely proven command of the subject and puts together something especially interesting: he is of Western (Canadian) origin, but has experienced Chi…
  • If you are interested in the domestic politics of countries other than your own and also want to have a basic understanding of how China conducts its internal politics, this course may be for you. It undoubtedly reviews the most important events that have happened, are happening, and may happen in China's future. And it leaves you with a valuable lesson.
  • Andrew Webster
    I wanted to learn about China and chose this course out of personal interest. I have really enjoyed it and found it very interesting. The delivery method has been great for me because the lectures were broken up into chunks of between 5 and 15 minutes and I sometimes can only get that much time being a stay at home dad a couple of days a week. Also, I've been considering going back to university and doing this course has helped me get a sense of what that might look like for me and also helped me build my confidence in being able to study something.
  • Anonymous
    The lectures are interesting and informative. However, the graded assignments and learning assessments are terrible. It is akin to the typical reasons that people grow to hate history. Rather than testing for knowledge of important concepts, the quizzes focus on pedantic facts and figures (even going so far as to ask for exact percentages in some circumstances).
  • Anonymous
    Great course, it covers many critical points about China's political structure. I took this course to complement a course that I am currently taking in my in-person studies. It really helped me improve my grade and understanding!
  • Anonymous
    this course is too lengthy, but it supposed to be. satisfied with the material provided. Hopefully it will help me in learning more about Chinese politics as i have an aim to pursue my phd in it.
  • Anonymous
    This course was well organized and well presented. The visual aids were appropriate and timely. Highly recommended as a means to begin to understand Chinese politics.
  • Profile image for Allen Plant
    Allen Plant
    Very good introduction to Chinese politics, clear classes with lots of helpful slides, and exams/quizzes to help remember all the various topics.
  • Anonymous
    Professor was incredibly knowledgeable and experienced with the course content, and the content being taught was extremely useful and interesting.
  • Anonymous
    Great course, wide list of interesting topics and unique statistics. Must-to-watch course for those who are interested in China's history, economy, politics in the 20th and 21st century. The professor of this cousre is a real professional, his experience of living/ working in China plays a huge role, because he can desribe some events/processes with his own point of view. Defenitely will check the 2nd part out !
  • Anonymous
    I like this course content. The instructor and provider are excellent. I hope to take a course in Chinese Politics Part 2 : China and the World. Thank you and good bye.
  • Anonymous
    I like this course content. The instructor and provider are excellent. I hope to take a course in Chinese Politics Part 2 : China and the World. Thank you and good bye.
  • Anonymous
    I like this course content. The instructor and provider are excellent. I hope to take a course in Chinese Politics Part 2 : China and the World. Thank you and good bye.
  • Anonymous
    Um curso muito completo com todos os parâmetros necessários para se compreender a política da China moderna. Realizar este curso ampliou muito da minha visão sobre a construção da política e toda a sua complexidade socioeconômica ao longo das décadas até se transformar numa grande potência global.
  • Anonymous
    A well-made, comprehensive explanation of modern China, its politics, economics, policy-making, and challenges. I would recommend it to anyone willing to build a sound foundation of the topic.
  • Anonymous
    Excellent course for anyone interested remotely in China studies. This course covers topics from Chinese policymaking to Chinese economy, Chinese trade policies and China's rural democracy

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