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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

Overview

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: https://youtu.be/7FpNL67EbE4

Syllabus

  • 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

David ZWEIG

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Reviews

4.7 rating, based on 23 reviews

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

  • 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

    Anonymous completed this course.

    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

    Anonymous completed this course.

    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

    Anonymous completed this course.

    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.
  • Russil Wvong
    Provides a clear picture of all aspects of politics in China, as of 2015: its political structure (including the dominance and pervasiveness of the Party), the struggle to become leader and to consolidate power, policy implementation, societal engagement (including protests and passive resistance), political aspects of the economy (including the major waves of reform), and finally future developments. The instructor, Dr. David Zweig, is excellent: he presents the material clearly, and he has long experience in the field. I also found the readings quite helpful, although I should warn that you may need to use Google and archive.org to track them down.
  • Anonymous
    The documents were very well prepared and professionally transmitted. The content helped me a lot to learn more about the structure of Chinese politics since the founding of the People's Republic of China. The knowledge imparted is fair and neutral, shedding light on the circumstances from a neutral and non-ideological point of view. In sum, I can recommend this course to anyone who wants to give their China knowledge a foundation of politics and history.
  • Anonymous
    I liked to get so many details on the historical background which helped to better understand Chinese politics as it is today. The Instructor came across very authentically, as he personally witnessed many situations and did field studies on the ground. I am looking forward to Part II of the course.
  • Anonymous
    Enjoyed the course, it became part of my everyday life. Thanks to professor David, and the team working on the video shooting and editing.
  • Andrew Webster
    1

    Andrew Webster completed this course, spending 4 hours a week on it and found the course difficulty to be hard.

    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.
  • Profile image for Lusha Wang
    Lusha Wang

    Lusha Wang completed this course.

    I've taken this course as I'm doing my research in Chinese foreign policy and I needed more insight on Chinese domestic and international politics. Prof. Zweig's lectures were interested, backed with surveys, facts, theoretical frameworks and his own experience as a researcher and a former student in China. I really enjoyed the course and I'm going to take Part 2 now!
  • Anonymous

    Anonymous completed this course.

    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

    Anonymous is taking this course right now.

    In Mainland China, there is mandatory political courses called 思修 (Morality)、史纲(History)、马哲(Marxism)、毛概(Maoism and others), which span for two years. This course is clearly an alternative to the last one, a political science course based not on communism doctrine. Very interesting.
  • Anonymous

    Anonymous completed this course.

    This is a good introduction to Chinese politics up to 2015. It does seem a tad dated.

    The exams are difficult, requiring synthesis of the material not just rote learning.

    The readings were problematic with many links broken, and the situation was in the process of being resolved.

  • Anonymous

    Anonymous completed this course.

    Excellent! I am really grateful to find this course. Actually, even though I am Chinese, I still get much helpful information from this class which not only improve my English skill but also let me understand the operation of Chinese politics better.
  • Anonymous

    Anonymous completed this course.

    Interesting and helpful introduction to China. Good video presentations, with an experienced instructor. Allows the possibility of peer interaction and no real pressure but good to have timelines, quizzes and essay presentations to do.
  • Anonymous

    Anonymous completed this course.

    Great course, the instructor has the first-hand experience in china politics. So we can see china politic in a different view the lecture is excellent with a lot of useful information. It is my honor to learn from you, professor.
  • Anonymous

    Anonymous completed this course.

    FANTASTIC AND JUST THE RIGHT AMOUNT OF CONTENT. THE INSTRUCTOR IS VERY KNOWLEDGABLE AND LUCID IN HIS EXPLANATION AND LANGUAGE. COURSERA AS A PLATFORM IS VERY GOOD AND SIMPLE. ALL D BEST TO THE TEAM COURSERA.
  • Anonymous

    Anonymous completed this course.

    Excellent course with well made videos, comprehensive speech and well designed assignments. Recommended to anyone who wishes to learn more about China politics.
  • Anonymous

    Anonymous completed this course.

    Very informative and structured look at China's political history up to 2014. Very much enjoyed the course content and learned a lot.
  • Anonymous

    Anonymous completed this course.

    One of the best lecturers I have encountered on Coursera. Great incite to the subject. Good slides with access.
    Course material flowed nicely and was easy to understand. With current conditions between the U.S. and China, this course is timely and beneficial. Looking forward to the second class.

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