Political Science | Contemporary Chinese Politics
Y333 | 26250 | Kennedy


E390/Y333: Contemporary Chinese Politics
There is a fierce debate amongst observers of China’s domestic
political scene: Is the Chinese state’s ability to effectively govern
growing or declining? Either trend has critical implications for the
rest of the world. A strong Chinese state, for better or worse, will
have greater influence over its neighbors and in international
institutions. A weak Chinese state will not be able to sustain
economic growth, protect the environment, or manage disputes among
conflicting interests, with clear negative spillover effects for the
world. This broad question will be considered through a discussion of
four topics: 1) Trends in elite politics; 2) The evolving nature of
the policymaking process; 3) Political activism of average Chinese;
and 4) The relative likelihood of continued Communist Party rule,
democratization, or collapse in the near future. To better understand
China, we will regularly make comparisons with politics elsewhere. We
use secondary readings by outside observers, primary documents by
political insiders, media reports, and film documentaries. The
requirements include 60-90 pages of reading per week, 3 short papers,
a final exam, and consistent attendance and participation in class. No
previous study of Chinese history or politics or knowledge of the
Chinese language is required.

This course meets with E390