• Class Number 6954
  • Term Code 3360
  • Class Info
  • Unit Value 6 units
  • Mode of Delivery In Person
    • Dr Fengming Lu
    • Dr Fengming Lu
  • Class Dates
  • Class Start Date 24/07/2023
  • Class End Date 27/10/2023
  • Census Date 31/08/2023
  • Last Date to Enrol 31/07/2023
SELT Survey Results

Who rules China, and how? This course examines the politics of contemporary China. It traces the cultural and historical legacies affecting political life and the political processes through which nation-state, citizen-subjects and the organizations and institutions of governance are constructed and interact; examines the major political challenges confronting China today; and explores debates over the concepts used to explain Chinese politics, both in China and in the field of comparative politics.

Learning Outcomes

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

Students will acquire from experts in the field an up to date knowledge of the  organizations and institutions involved in contemporary Chinese politics; draw on key concepts in comparative politics to evaluate debates about the major political issues facing China; develop their research and analytical skills, by participating in tutorial discussions, preparing and writing a research essay, and preparing for an examination.

By the end of this course, you should be able to:

  1. understand the key concepts used in studying Chinese politics;
  2. demonstrate familiarity with some of the major theories seeking to explain Chinese politics;
  3. produce persuasive, well-researched written arguments about the politics of China;
  4. produce persuasive verbal accounts of the politics of China.

Research-Led Teaching

This course's reading materials and lectures are based on cutting-edge research works, empowering students to keep up with the most up-to-date research in the field. In most of classes and tutorials, 10-15% of time will be dedicated to students' presentations, which motivate them to do further research on their interested topics beyond the scope of the course's readings. As one of the primary assessments, the final research paper involves students developing their own research question based on consultation with the course convenor, working on their paper proposals, and advance their research and writing skills based on the course convenor's advice.

Required Resources

The textbook Politics in China (OUP, 2019) edited by William Joseph is used in this course. Copies can be ordered through Harry Hartog. Two hard copies and an e-book are available through the ANU Library. 

Other textbooks

Lieberthal, Kenneth. 2003. Governing China: From Revolution Through Reform. W. W. Norton & Company.

Walder, Andrew. 2015. China under Mao. Harvard University Press.

Kroeber, Arthur R. 2016. China’s Economy: What Everyone Needs to Know. Oxford University Press.

Optional: Vogel, Ezra F. Deng Xiaoping and the Transformation of China. Belknap Press

Journals, newspapers and online resources

You are advised to read widely and to keep up with the current literature in key academic journals on China studies. The following journals are particularly important:

The China Quarterly, The China Journal, Journal of Contemporary China, and Modern China

Students are encouraged to read 1-2 articles about Chinese politics each week. Online news resources include:


            Financial Times http://www.ft.com/rss/world/asiapacific  

            Global Times  https://www.globaltimes.cn/

            The Guardian www.guardian.co.uk  

            The Diplomat https://thediplomat.com          

            New York Times www.nytimes.com  

            Nikkei Asian Review http://asia.nikkei.com    

            People’s Daily http://english.people.com.cn/

            South China Morning Post http://www.scmp.com/news/china

            Xinhua http://www.xinhuanet.com/english/index.htm

Caixin https://www.caixinglobal.com/

Other online resources are listed below

 http://english.peopledaily.com.cn/whitepaper/home.html (White papers of the Chinese government)

 http://www.chinatoday.com/law/a.htm (Chinese laws)

 http://www.brookings.edu/cnaps.aspx (Brookings Institute on China)

 http://www.chinafile.com/ (PRC focused journalism)

 http://chinadigitaltimes.net/ (Hong Kong based, internet and media issues)

 http://www.chinaleadershipmonitor.org/ (Elite PRC politics)

https://duihua.org/wp/ (Duihua Foundation, legal issues and human rights)

 https://nuvoices.com/ (Gender)

 https://qz.com/ (Technology)

 https://sinocism.com/ (Daily newsletter on China related matters)

https://www.whatsonweibo.com/newsletter/ (Newsletter on highlights from Weibo, one of China's primary social media platforms)

If you find that these links do not work, please inform Fengming so that he can update the list.


Often interesting accounts include:

Bill Bishop @niubi (edits Sinocism newsletter)

Louisa Lim @limlouisa (co-host of Little Red Podcast, former BBC and NPR China correspondent)

China Law Translate @ChinaLawTransl8 (translation project run by Yale’s Jeremy Daum)

Chris Buckley @ChuBailiang (New York Times reporter)

Joseph Torigian @JosephTorigian (Washington-based archivist of PRC and Russia)

Josh Chin @joshchin (WSJ reporter)

Official China @ChinaRegulation (insightful and the odd translation)

The Relevant Organs @relevantorgans (the most reliably amusing PRC-focused account)

Bad China Takes @badchinatake and @wokeglobaltimes (DC-based account, pillories China watchers on all sides)

Graeme Smith @GraemeKSmith 

Mao @Maoviews (a anonymous observer of Chinese elite politics)

Other than Graeme and Louisa’s Little Red Podcast (https://omny.fm/shows/the-little-red-podcast), other podcasts worth your time include:

China Power https://chinapower.csis.org/podcasts/ Hosted by Bonnie Glaser of CSIS

China Talk https://chinatalkshow.libsyn.com Hosted by Jordan Schneider

TechBuzz China https://www.techbuzzchina.com Hosted by Rui Ma and Ying Lu

Harvard-Fairbank Centre https://player.fm/series/harvard-fairbank-center-for-chinese-studies

Sinica https://supchina.com/series/sinica/ Hosted by Kaiser Kuo and Jeremy Goldkorn

Staff Feedback

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

  • Written comments
  • Verbal comments
  • Feedback to the whole class, to groups, and to individuals

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.

Other Information

Chinese spelling and pronunciation

When you read books on China, you will notice that there are two main systems for romanizing (writing in the English alphabet) Chinese names. The older system is known as Wade-Giles, while the modern one used within the PRC is pinyin. Most books published in the PRC use pinyin for all except a few names. The exceptions are names of people who were well known in the West and whose names were commonly spelt in a particular way before pinyin was introduced; they are usually kept the same so as not to confuse the reader. But generally, almost everybody these days uses pinyin, and it is a better system in many respects, so you should aim to keep to this system as far as possible in your own writing.

Pronunciation: pinyin is mostly pronounced as it is written - a "ch" sound is the same as in English, for example - but there are a few cases where it won’t be obvious to you how to pronounce these names. Below are a few guidelines on pronunciation.

(as in Deng Xiaoping) is pronounced as something between an and a sh sound

(as in Jiang Qing) is the same as ch zh is like an initial j

is a sort of tss sound

(as in Mao Zedong) is a softer version of c, something like dz

Just to complicate things, the Republic of China on Taiwan continues to use the Wade-Giles system, hence former President Lee Teng-hui (instead of Li Denghui in Pinyin), and Kuomintang (not Guomindang).

Note on Chinese names: The family name precedes the given name, so that Mao Zedong if you wish to shorten it becomes Mao, Jiang Zemin becomes Jiang, etc. The use of the given name on its own (such as Jinping for Xi Jinping) is usually either familiar or derogatory, neither of which is appropriate in academic writing.

Class Schedule

Week/Session Summary of Activities Assessment
1 Why Studying China? The Historical Background, Late-Qing and the early Republican Era Enrol online in tutorials
2 The Republican Era and the Rise of the Communist Party
3 The Mao Era
4 The Reform and Opening Up
5 The Party, Formal Institutions, and the ‘New Era’ Midterm Test (25%) Posted (28 August)
6 Local Governments and Economic Development Midterm Test (25%) Due (31 August)
7 The Government and the Businesses
8 Rule of Law and Corruption
9 Social Protests and State Response
10 Ideology, Media Control, and Censorship
11 Ethnic Politics
12 China and the World Final Research Paper (40%) Due (13 November)

Tutorial Registration

Please register for tutorials via MyTimetable, as linked on the Wattle site.

Assessment Summary

Assessment task Value Due Date Return of assessment Learning Outcomes
Tutorial participation 10 % * 27/10/2023 1,2,3,4
Weekly News Presentation 5 % * 27/10/2023 1,2,4
Midterm Test 25 % 31/08/2023 08/09/2023 1,2,3
Group Presentation 20 % * 27/10/2023 1,2,4
Research essay 40 % 13/11/2023 20/11/2023 2,3

* 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 Students may choose not to submit assessment items through Turnitin. In this instance you will be required to submit, alongside the assessment item itself, hard copies of all references included in the assessment item.

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 %
Return of Assessment: 27/10/2023
Learning Outcomes: 1,2,3,4

Tutorial participation

Students should enrol in tutorials on Wattle. Your tutor will keep a record of your attendance. If you must miss a tutorial, please email and explain the problem to the tutor or me. Students are expected to attend lectures and tutorials, do the required readings, and actively participate in class discussion after completing and digesting the assigned materials. Students will be graded on the quality of their active participation. Marks are not given for simply attending.

Assessment Task 2

Value: 5 %
Return of Assessment: 27/10/2023
Learning Outcomes: 1,2,4

Weekly News Presentation

Throughout the semester, each student will sign up for a weekly tutorial (starting from Week 2) and make a short presentation (5-8 minutes) on his/her favourite China-related news story in the media. Your presentation should describe relevant background information and provide a succinct summary of event(s). It should also briefly discuss the significance of the event(s) and relate them back to the themes discussed in class. You have only one chance to present a news story, so take a good pick!

Assessment Task 3

Value: 25 %
Due Date: 31/08/2023
Return of Assessment: 08/09/2023
Learning Outcomes: 1,2,3

Midterm Test

A take-home midterm test, which will allow you to choose two from five short answer questions, will be posted around the end of Week 5 (27th August), and due by 11:59 pm, 31st August. The questions will focus focusing on the historical background of and working knowledge on Chinese political institutions.

Assessment Task 4

Value: 20 %
Return of Assessment: 27/10/2023
Learning Outcomes: 1,2,4

Group Presentation

To foster exchange of ideas and collaboration among students, you will join your classmates in groups of three or four to give a 15-minutes presentation on a specific topic about Chinese politics between Week 3 and Week 12. Email me your top three topic choices by 4 August, and I will assign groups based on your indicated preferences.

Assessment Task 5

Value: 40 %
Due Date: 13/11/2023
Return of Assessment: 20/11/2023
Learning Outcomes: 2,3

Research essay

To encourage original and independent research, each student will write a research paper (12-point font, double-spaced) that focuses on a specific issue related to Chinese politics. The word limit is 3,000 words for ASIA 2026 students and 4,000 fo ASIA 6026 students. You are free to continue further on the topic of your group presentation or choose something else. This paper, however, should focus on explaining the issue (e.g. its origin, development, and/or outcome) with politics, especially the unique characteristics of Chinese politics. In particular, you are expected to employ political theories or concepts discussed in class in your exploration of the topic. A paper proposal is due on 6 October. You can submit an optional first draft by 20 October to receive comments on revisions. The final version is due on 13 November.

Academic Integrity

Academic integrity is a core part of our culture as a community of scholars. At its heart, academic integrity is about behaving ethically. This means that all members of the community commit to honest and responsible scholarly practice and to upholding these values with respect and fairness. The Australian National University commits to embedding the values of academic integrity in our teaching and learning. We ensure that all members of our community 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 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 University has policies and procedures in place to promote academic integrity and manage academic misconduct. Visit the following Academic honesty & plagiarism website for more information about academic integrity and what the ANU considers academic misconduct. The ANU offers a number of services to assist students with their assignments, examinations, and other learning activities. The Academic Skills and Learning Centre offers a number of workshops and seminars that you may find useful for your studies.

Online Submission

The ANU uses 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. While the use of Turnitin is not mandatory, the ANU highly recommends Turnitin is used by both teaching staff and students. For additional information regarding Turnitin please visit the ANU Online website.

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 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.

Returning Assignments


Every written assignment (i.e. assignment numbers 3 and 4) must include a completed and signed ‘Assessment cover sheet’. The cover sheet is available on the course Wattle site. In signing the cover sheet, you confirm that the work is original and all sources are appropriately referenced.

Pages must be numbered. The text must be in 12 point font, and lines must be 1.5 spaced.

Submit to the IPS Turnitin coursework submission box on the Wattle site ASIA2026.


Under ANU policy, students who elect not to submit an assessment task through Turnitin are required to submit, alongside the assessment item itself, hard copies of all references included in the assessment item.

All assessment task submissions, regardless of mode of submission, require your agreement to the following declaration:

I declare that this work:

upholds the principles of academic integrity, as defined in the ANU Policy: Code of Practice for Student Academic Integrity;

is original, except where collaboration (for example group work) has been authorised in writing by the course convener in the course outline and/or Wattle site;

is produced for the purposes of this assessment task and has not been submitted for assessment in any other context, except where authorised in writing by the course convener;

gives appropriate acknowledgement of the ideas, scholarship and intellectual property of others insofar as these have been used;

in no part involves copying, cheating, collusion, fabrication, plagiarism or recycling.

The University takes academic misconduct seriously and may take action under the Procedure: Code of Practice for Student Academic Integrity.

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.

Resubmission of Assignments



Please note the following rules when considering extensions:

Applications for an extension of the due date for an assessment task must be submitted in writing to the Course Convener with relevant supporting documentation attached to the application to allow the claims to be verified. Written confirmation must be received from the Course Convenor that an extension has been approved.

Applications for extension will only be granted where the student was not able to complete an assessment task by the due date as a result of exceptional circumstances that could not reasonably be foreseen and were beyond the student’s control.

Exceptional circumstances that may warrant approval of an Assessment Extension include, but are not limited to:

a.     Medical reasons (student injury, illness or medical condition) of such significance that completion of the assessment task was not possible;

b.     Family/personal reasons (family injury or illness, bereavement) of such significance that completion of the assessment task was not possible;

c.     Employment related reasons: where a student's employment status or employment arrangements change unexpectedly due to circumstances beyond their control of such significance that completion of the assessment task was not possible.

The due date of an assessment task will not be extended beyond the date for return of the assessment item specified in the course outline.

Where an extension is granted on medical grounds and is on the basis of a non-chronic condition, an extension of the due date for an assessment task is

normally limited to the number of days (calculated to the nearest working day) the student is suffering from the medical condition as indicated on the medical certificate.

Extensions will normally not be granted because of conflicts with other study commitments, work commitments, holidays, family gatherings, competing assessment deadlines, sporting commitments or commitments to student organisations.

Extensions will not be granted retrospectively, except in medical emergencies or on the advice of the Disability Services Centre.

Where the student gains an unfair advantage as a result of the extension of the assessment due date, an alternative assessment task will be set.


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 Fengming Lu
6125 3207

Research Interests

Dr Fengming Lu

Tuesday 16:00 17:00
Thursday 16:00 17:00
Dr Fengming Lu
6125 3207

Research Interests

Dr Fengming Lu

Tuesday 16:00 17:00
Thursday 16:00 17:00

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