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Unit information: The Political Economy of China in 2020/21

Unit name The Political Economy of China
Unit code POLI30009
Credit points 20
Level of study H/6
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 1 (weeks 1 - 12)
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


This unit engages in an assessment of the political and economic transformation of the People's Republic of China. It adopts a systemic approach in assessing the institutional and development models and experiences that have taken place since the beginning of reforms in 1978. Topics included the state's role in economic reform, the role of state-owned enterprises versus the growing private sector, the impact of economic development on the environment, as well as state-societal relations as China develops. It examines major policy decisions and the political, ideological and economic rationale behind the world's second largest economy and its path towards modernisation. Additional topics include: International trade, Foreign Direct investment, Global Systems of Production and Production Chains, and the challenge of the Renminbi to the American Dollar as a global currency.

Intended learning outcomes

  • Critically engage with a body of analytical knowledge about political and economic systems in the People’s Republic of China.
  • Demonstrate a sophisticated understanding of the dynamics of power, state-societal and state-business relations with regard to the People’s Republic of China
  • Critically evaluate the influence of the international political economic system on the Chinese national economy;
  • Demonstrate detailed awareness of China’s growing economy and its implications for the international economy.

Teaching details

The unit will be taught through blended learning methods, including a mix of synchronous and asynchronous teaching activities

Assessment Details

1 x presentation (25%)

1 x 3000 word essay (75%)

Both forms pieces assess all learning outcomes.

Reading and References

  1. Barry Naughton, The Chinese Economy: Transitions and Growth, MIT Press, 2006
  2. Dali Yang, Remaking the Chinese Leviathan: Market Transition and the Politics of Governance in China, Stanford University Press 2006
  3. Nicholas R. Lardy, Sustaining China’s Economic Growth After the Global Financial Crisis, Peterson Institute for International Economics (15 Nov 2011)
  4. Bruce Dickson, Red Capitalism in China: The Party, Private Entrepreneurs and Prospects for Political Change, New York: Cambridge University Press, 2003.
  5. Yasheng Huang, Capitalism with Chinese Characteristics: Entrepreneurship and the State, Cambridge University Press 2008
  6. Justin Yifu Lin, Demystifying the Chinese Economy Cambridge University Press (2011)
  7. Justin Yifu Lin, New Paradigm for Interpreting the Chinese Economy: Theories, Challenges and Opportunities, World Scientific Publishing (30 Mar 2014)