Module LXC-2200:
Contemporary Chinese Studies

Module Facts

Run by School of Languages, Literatures and Linguistics.

20 Credits or 10 ECTS Credits

Semester 1 & 2

Organiser: Dr Shuai Zhao

Overall aims and purpose

This module teaches foundational knowledge of contemporary Chinese history, politics and society, and introduces disciplinary approaches to the study of contemporary China, particularly in history, politics, economy and international relations. This is to prepare students for the challenges and exploit the opportunities created by China’s rise as a regional and global player.

Course content

This module teaches foundational knowledge of contemporary Chinese history, politics and society, and introduces disciplinary approaches to the study of contemporary China, particularly in history, politics, economy and international relations. The module will include topics such as the historical context of contemporary China’s re-emergence, the causes and consequences of the Cultural Revolution, China’s economy in transition since reform and opening.

The module will be mainly taught in English with some inclusion of Chinese and reading materials in Chinese.

Assessment Criteria


A- & above: Detailed comprehension of the given topic; highly focussed answer and well structure; logically presented and defended arguments; excellent presentation with very accurate communication.


C- - B+: Solid comprehension of the given topic; focussed answers with good structure; arguments presented coherently; good presentation with accurate communication.


D- - D+: Satisfactory comprehension of the given topic; answer focusing on question but also with some irrelevant material and weaknesses in structure; arguments presented but lack coherence; some weaknesses in presentation and accuracy.

Learning outcomes

    1. interpret and evaluate some of the key aspects of contemporary China;
    1. critique different perceptions and viewpoints of contemporary China, and construct coherent and substantiated arguments;
    1. understand the political and economic implications of the vast changes and rise of China in the recent years.
    1. demonstrate a good understanding of contemporary China in terms of history and politics;

Assessment Methods

Type Name Description Weight

10 minutes presentation


2,000 word essay in English


3,500 words essay


Teaching and Learning Strategy

Private study

reading time, preparing and taking assessments


1-hour lecture and 1-hour seminar in Week 1, 3, 5, 6, 9, 11 for Semester 1 and in Week 1, 3, 5, 7, 9, 11 for Semester 2.


Transferable skills

  • Literacy - Proficiency in reading and writing through a variety of media
  • Computer Literacy - Proficiency in using a varied range of computer software
  • Self-Management - Able to work unsupervised in an efficient, punctual and structured manner. To examine the outcomes of tasks and events, and judge levels of quality and importance
  • Exploring - Able to investigate, research and consider alternatives
  • Information retrieval - Able to access different and multiple sources of information
  • Inter-personal - Able to question, actively listen, examine given answers and interact sensitevely with others
  • Critical analysis & Problem Solving - Able to deconstruct and analyse problems or complex situations. To find solutions to problems through analyses and exploration of all possibilities using appropriate methods, rescources and creativity.
  • Presentation - Able to clearly present information and explanations to an audience. Through the written or oral mode of communication accurately and concisely.

Subject specific skills

  1. Communication skills: communicate some key concepts in Chinese, although the module is mainly taught in English; (Benchmark statements 5.7, 5.8, 5.14, 5.15)
  2. Interpersonal skills: work productively with others as part of a team, within a set structure; (Benchmark statement 5.16)
  3. Study skills: make progress through developing skills of self-study and application and develop an awareness of history, literature and culture; (Benchmark statements 5.7, 5.15)
  4. Study skills: research and writing; use of media and library resources; (Benchmark statements 5.14, 5.15)
  5. Presentation skills. (Benchmark statement 5.15)


Resource implications for students


Reading list

There is no recommended textbook but the following can be used as references:

Fenby, Jonathan, The Penguin History of Modern China: The Fall and Rise of a Great Power, 1850 to the Present, 2nd edn.

Gries, Peter Hays and Stanley Rosen, State and Society in 21st Century China: Crisis, Contention and Legitimation

Hsu, Immanuel C. Y. , The Rise of Modern China

Jeffries, Ian, China: A Guide to Economic and Political Developments

Lai, Hongyi and Lu Yiyi, China’s Soft Power and International Relations

Meisner, Maurice, Mao’s China and After: A History of the People’s Republic

Wang, Zheng, Never Forget National Humiliation: Historical Memory in Chinese Politics and Foreign Relations

Zhu, Zhiqun, China’s New Diplomacy

Courses including this module