• Class Number 8123
  • Term Code 2960
  • Class Info
  • Unit Value 6 units
  • Mode of Delivery In Person
    • Dr Feng Zhang
  • Class Dates
  • Class Start Date 22/07/2019
  • Class End Date 25/10/2019
  • Census Date 31/08/2019
  • Last Date to Enrol 29/07/2019
    • Michael Varnay
SELT Survey Results

This course surveys the rise of China and its implications for Asian and international security. The course begins with an historical overview of Chinese security policy with a particular emphasis upon key concepts of national identity, international status, and modernisation. It explores the domestic sources of China’s security policy, China’s security relations in the Asia Pacific, and particular case studies of crisis diplomacy such as the South China Sea, the Mekong River Delta, and the Himalayan-Tibetan Plateau.

Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion, students will have the knowledge and skills to:

  1. A comprehensive knowledge of the evolution of China’s foreign relations and security polices;
  2. A critical understanding of the key drivers of Chinese security policy behaviour in the Asia Pacific;
  3. Deeper insights into regional foreign policy and security challenges from a Chinese perspective;
  4. A developed capacity to present strong arguments in their written and oral work and to link relevant concepts and theories to actual practice skills (as developed through written assessments, in-class discussions and tutorial-based activities).

Required Resources

There is no essential textbook for this course. However, students are strongly advised to read a general introduction to China's foreign relations in order to acquire a basic understanding of the major themes and issues. I especially recommend the following book:

  • John W. Garver, China's Quest: The History of the Foreign Relations of the People's Republic of China (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2016). Electronic version available at ANU library.

Other recommended books include:

David Shambaugh, China Goes Global: The Partial Power (Oxford University Press, 2014). a comprehensive exploration of China's global policy.

Thomas J. Christensen, The China Challenge: Shaping the Choices of a Rising Power (New York: Norton, 2015). Good discussion of US-China relations. 

Susan Shirk, China: Fragile Superpower (New York: Oxford University Press, 2007). Good analysis of Chinese politics and foreign policy from the late 1990s to around 2005.

Chen Jian, Mao's China and the Cold War (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2001). An excellent introduction to Chinese foreign policy during the Cold War, written by an historian rather than an International Relations scholar.

Henry Kissinger, On China (New York: Penguin, 2012). An interesting introduction to Chinese foreign policy from a diplomatic practitioner's perspective.

Feng Zhang, Chinese Hegemony: Grand Strategy and International Institutions in East Asian History (Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 2015). An examination of Chinese foreign policy during the imperial era with implications for contemporary policy. 

Stuart Harris, China's Foreign Policy, (Polity Press, 2014). 

Robert Sutter, Chinese Foreign Relations: Power and Policy since the Cold War (Lanham: Rowman & Littlefield, 2008).

Students new to Chinese foreign policy might consult these reference books:

Robert Sutter, Historical Dictionary of Chinese Foreign Policy (Lanham: The Scarecrow Press, 2011).

Shaun Breslin, ed., Handbook of China•s International Relations (London: Routledge, 2010).

Students unfamiliar with Chinese history and politics should also consult one of the following books:

Odd Arne Westad, Restless Empire: China and the World Since 1750 (London: Vintage Books, 2013). 

Jonathan D. Spence, The Search for Modern China, Second Edition (New York: W. W. Norton, 1999).

John King Fairbank and Merle Goldman, China: A New History, Enlarged Edition (Cambridge, Mass.: The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 1998).

Maurice Meisner, Mao•s China and After: A History of the People•s Republic, Third Edition (New York: The Free Press, 1999).

Kenneth Lieberthal, Governing China: From Revolution to Reform, Second Edition (New York: W. W. Norton, 2003). 

Rana Mitter, A Bitter Revolution: China•s Struggle with the Modern World (Oxford: University of Oxford Press, 2004).

Pamela Kyle Crossley, The Wobbling Pivot: China Since 1800, An Interpretive History (Malden, MA: Wiley-Blackwell, 2010).

Staff Feedback

Students will be given feedback in the following forms in this course:

  • written comments
  • verbal comments
  • feedback to whole class, groups, individuals, focus group etc

Student Feedback

ANU is committed to the demonstration of educational excellence and regularly seeks feedback from students. Students are encouraged to offer feedback directly to their Course Convener or through their College and Course representatives (if applicable). The feedback given in these surveys is anonymous and provides the Colleges, University Education Committee and Academic Board with opportunities to recognise excellent teaching, and opportunities for improvement. The Surveys and Evaluation website provides more information on student surveys at ANU and reports on the feedback provided on ANU courses.

Class Schedule

Week/Session Summary of Activities Assessment
1 Lecture 1 - 23/07/2019: The Historical Context
2 Lecture 2 - 30/07/2019: Theories of Foreign Policy
3 Lecture 3 -06/08/2019: Chinese Security Policy during the Cold War Short essay due 8th August 2019 11.55pm
4 Lecture 4 - 13/08/2019: "Peaceful Rise" in the Post-Cold War World
5 Lecture 5 - 20/08/2019: Chinese Power and Intentions Op-ed due 22nd August 2019 11.55pm
6 Lecture 6 -27/08/2019: Sino-American Relations
7 Lecture 7 - 17/09/2019: Taiwan and cross-Strait Relations Research essay due 19th September 2019 11.55pm
8 Lecture 8 - 24/09/2019: Japan and East China Sea
9 Lecture 9 - 01/10/2019: China and North Korea
10 Lecture 10 - 08/10/2019: The South China Sea
11 Lecture 11 - 15/10/2019: Australia and the South Pacific
12 Lecture 12 - 22/10/2019: Xi Jinping and the Future of Chinese Foreign Policy

Assessment Summary

Assessment task Value Due Date Return of assessment Learning Outcomes
Tutorial Participation 10 % 24/07/2019 28/11/2019 4
Opinion Essay 10 % 22/08/2019 05/10/2019 4
Short Essay 20 % 08/08/2019 29/08/2019 1,2,3
Research Essay 30 % 19/09/2019 10/10/2019 1,2,3
Take-home Exam 30 % 02/11/2019 28/11/2019 1,2,3,4

* If the Due Date and Return of Assessment date are blank, see the Assessment Tab for specific Assessment Task details


ANU has educational policies, procedures and guidelines, which are designed to ensure that staff and students are aware of the University’s academic standards, and implement them. Students are expected to have read the Academic Misconduct Rule before the commencement of their course. Other key policies and guidelines include:

Assessment Requirements

The ANU is using Turnitin to enhance student citation and referencing techniques, and to assess assignment submissions as a component of the University's approach to managing Academic Integrity. For additional information regarding Turnitin please visit the ANU Online website. In rare cases where online submission using Turnitin software is not technically possible; or where not using Turnitin software has been justified by the Course Convener and approved by the Associate Dean (Education) on the basis of the teaching model being employed; students shall submit assessment online via ‘Wattle’ outside of Turnitin, or failing that in hard copy, or through a combination of submission methods as approved by the Associate Dean (Education). The submission method is detailed below.

Moderation of Assessment

Marks that are allocated during Semester are to be considered provisional until formalised by the College examiners meeting at the end of each Semester. If appropriate, some moderation of marks might be applied prior to final results being released.

Assessment Task 1

Value: 10 %
Due Date: 24/07/2019
Return of Assessment: 28/11/2019
Learning Outcomes: 4

Tutorial Participation

Your tutors will mark your participation on the basis of how actively you participate through the course -- asking and answering questions, taking part in debates during tutorials, and engaging with the course through Wattle.

Assessment Task 2

Value: 10 %
Due Date: 22/08/2019
Return of Assessment: 05/10/2019
Learning Outcomes: 4

Opinion Essay

The opinion essay takes the form of an op-ed in a quality journalistic publication such as leader articles in The Economist or op-eds in The New York Times. The topics draw on recent policy developments, which we will provide two weeks before the due date.

Assessment Task 3

Value: 20 %
Due Date: 08/08/2019
Return of Assessment: 29/08/2019
Learning Outcomes: 1,2,3

Short Essay

Write an essay of 1,000 words to answer one of the following questions:

  1. What is the impact of the so-called "century of humiliation" on modern Chinese foreign policy?
  2. Why did the PRC choose to ally with the Soviet Union upon its founding?
  3. Why was a Sino-U.S. rapprochement possible in the late 1960s and the early 1970s?

Assessment Task 4

Value: 30 %
Due Date: 19/09/2019
Return of Assessment: 10/10/2019
Learning Outcomes: 1,2,3

Research Essay

The research essay is a detailed piece of work that comprehensively answers the essay question of your choice. Write 2,500 words to answer one of the following questions:

  1. Why did China promote the “peaceful rise/development” foreign policy discourse?
  2. Is it possible to pin down China's strategic intentions?
  3. Why has China-US strategic competition intensified?
  4. Is China going to use force to achieve reunification with Taiwan?

Assessment Task 5

Value: 30 %
Due Date: 02/11/2019
Return of Assessment: 28/11/2019
Learning Outcomes: 1,2,3,4

Take-home Exam

You will be asked to answer two questions from a list of questions in the exam paper. Each essay should be around 800 words, making the total word count of 1,600 words. The exam questions are drawn from the topics covered in this course and are linked to major debates about recent Chinese foreign policy.

Academic Integrity

Academic integrity is a core part of the ANU culture as a community of scholars. At its heart, academic integrity is about behaving ethically, committing to honest and responsible scholarly practice and upholding these values with respect and fairness.

The ANU commits to assisting all members of our community to understand how to engage in academic work in ways that are consistent with, and actively support academic integrity. The ANU expects staff and students to be familiar with the academic integrity principle and Academic Misconduct Rule, uphold high standards of academic integrity and act ethically and honestly, to ensure the quality and value of the qualification that you will graduate with.

The Academic Misconduct Rule is in place to promote academic integrity and manage academic misconduct. Very minor breaches of the academic integrity principle may result in a reduction of marks of up to 10% of the total marks available for the assessment. The ANU offers a number of online and in person services to assist students with their assignments, examinations, and other learning activities. Visit the Academic Skills website for more information about academic integrity, your responsibilities and for assistance with your assignments, writing skills and study.

Online Submission

You will be required to electronically sign a declaration as part of the submission of your assignment. Please keep a copy of the assignment for your records. Unless an exemption has been approved by the Associate Dean (Education) submission must be through Turnitin.

Hardcopy Submission

For some forms of assessment (hand written assignments, art works, laboratory notes, etc.) hard copy submission is appropriate when approved by the Associate Dean (Education). Hard copy submissions must utilise the Assignment Cover Sheet. Please keep a copy of tasks completed for your records.

Late Submission

Late submission permitted. Late submission of assessment tasks without an extension are penalised at the rate of 5% of the possible marks available per working day or part thereof. Late submission of assessment tasks is not accepted after 10 working days after the due date, or on or after the date specified in the course outline for the return of the assessment item. Late submission is not accepted for take-home examinations.

Referencing Requirements

Accepted academic practice for referencing sources that you use in presentations can be found via the links on the Wattle site, under the file named “ANU and College Policies, Program Information, Student Support Services and Assessment”. Alternatively, you can seek help through the Students Learning Development website.

Extensions and Penalties

Extensions and late submission of assessment pieces are covered by the Student Assessment (Coursework) Policy and Procedure. The Course Convener may grant extensions for assessment pieces that are not examinations or take-home examinations. If you need an extension, you must request an extension in writing on or before the due date. If you have documented and appropriate medical evidence that demonstrates you were not able to request an extension on or before the due date, you may be able to request it after the due date.

Privacy Notice

The ANU has made a number of third party, online, databases available for students to use. Use of each online database is conditional on student end users first agreeing to the database licensor’s terms of service and/or privacy policy. Students should read these carefully. In some cases student end users will be required to register an account with the database licensor and submit personal information, including their: first name; last name; ANU email address; and other information.
In cases where student end users are asked to submit ‘content’ to a database, such as an assignment or short answers, the database licensor may only use the student’s ‘content’ in accordance with the terms of service – including any (copyright) licence the student grants to the database licensor. Any personal information or content a student submits may be stored by the licensor, potentially offshore, and will be used to process the database service in accordance with the licensors terms of service and/or privacy policy.
If any student chooses not to agree to the database licensor’s terms of service or privacy policy, the student will not be able to access and use the database. In these circumstances students should contact their lecturer to enquire about alternative arrangements that are available.

Distribution of grades policy

Academic Quality Assurance Committee monitors the performance of students, including attrition, further study and employment rates and grade distribution, and College reports on quality assurance processes for assessment activities, including alignment with national and international disciplinary and interdisciplinary standards, as well as qualification type learning outcomes.

Since first semester 1994, ANU uses a grading scale for all courses. This grading scale is used by all academic areas of the University.

Support for students

The University offers students support through several different services. You may contact the services listed below directly or seek advice from your Course Convener, Student Administrators, or your College and Course representatives (if applicable).

Dr Feng Zhang
02 6125 3207

Research Interests

Feng Zhang is a Senior Lecturer at the Australian National University’s Department of International Relations, Deputy Director (Higher Degree by Research) of the ANU’s Coral Bell School of Asia Pacific Affairs, and a member of the executive committee of the Australian Centre on China in the World based at the ANU. His research focuses on Chinese foreign and security policy, Asia-Pacific security relations (especially the South China Sea), international relations in East Asian history, and international relations theory. 

His first book, Chinese Hegemony: Grand Strategy and International Institutions in East Asian History, was published by Stanford University Press in 2015. He is currently completing a new book, with Professor Richard Ned Lebow, Managing Sino-American Conflict. His articles have appeared in Asia Policy, Asia & the Pacific Policy Studies, Australian Journal of International Affairs, China: An International Journal, Chinese Journal of International Politics, East Asian Policy, European Journal of International Relations, International Politics,Political Science Quarterly, Review of International Studies, Survival, and The Washington Quarterly.

He is also an Adjunct Professor at the National Institute for South China Sea Studies in China, and has received visiting research fellowships from the East Asian Institute of the National University of Singapore and the Guangdong Institute of International Strategy in China. Prior to ANU, he taught at Tsinghua University in Beijing and Murdoch University in Perth. He received his MSc and PhD from the London School of Economics and Political Science.

He is a regular contributor to international media and policy forums including ChinaFile,East Asian Forum, Foreign Affairs, Financial Times, Foreign Policy, International Public Policy Review, The Paper, The Strategist,and The Straits Times. He can be reached via email at fengzhangmc@gmail.com, via Twitter @fengzhangmc, and via his website at http://fengzhang.net.

Dr Feng Zhang

Michael Varnay

Research Interests

Michael Varnay

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