Maastricht, Netherlands

The Rise of China and Its Implications For World Politics

when 10 July 2023 - 14 July 2023
language English
duration 1 week
credits 2 EC
fee EUR 699

The rise of China and its implications for world politics
This course aims to provide a critical examination of key issues and processes related to the politics and international relations of China. The focus of the course is on developments since the end of the Cold War, with a particular emphasis on China’s economic and political rising and its various implications for international politics up to date.
In the summer of 1989, protesters gathered in Tiananmen Square to demand greater political rights. The changes that swept Europe with the disintegration of the Soviet Union seemed to be replicating in China. For more than three decades, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) had continued to hold power and successfully negotiated to end the Cold War, laying the foundation for China’s rise as a world power. China has now integrated into the world economy and has played an important political role. At the same time, however, China seems to be very fragile. Many Western observers have been expecting the collapse of the People’s Republic of China (PRC). Western scholars, journalists, and the like all believe that the regime lacks legitimacy because it is not based on an electoral/democratic system. The riots/protests in Tibet in 2008, Xinjiang in 2009, Hong Kong in 2014 and 2019, and the outbreak of the coronavirus in 2020, to some extent, confirmed their observations and concerns about China’s vulnerability. As Susan Shirk said, China is a ‘fragile superpower’. In addition, China’s rise appears threatening to many people. Foreigners often worry that China’s rapid development will present a threat to the stability of the current world order. Military and political tensions between China and Taiwan could undermine the stability of the Northeast Asian region; China’s historical animosity towards Japan endures. China has continued stepping up land reclamation on the disputed Islands in the South China Sea. Many Western countries, especially the United States, are increasingly anxious about losing their pre-eminence and are often even more outspoken than Chinese observers in proclaiming the imminent rise of a Chinese pole on the global power map.
Today, with global markets in turmoil and supply chains broadly affected by the U.S.-China trade war, the outbreak of COVID-19, and most recently the Ukraine war, the international political order as we know it may be re-altered. How exactly the international order will change? Are we moving away from the U.S.-centric world order to more China-centric world order, and in what ways? And what does a world order centred on China mean?
This course aims to draw considerable insight from IR and political theory to make a sophisticated and nuanced analysis of China’s ascent. The course is organized around three parts, 12 sessions. The first part (Session 1, 2, 3, 4) offers a general introduction to China’s politics and international relations including its worldview, strategic thinking, and Chinese theories of international relations. The second part (sections 5, 6, 7, 8) aims to explore questions such as whether China’s rise is a real phenomenon and what are the characteristics of China’s rise. It will examine China’s hard and soft power and the challenges facing contemporary China (that is, stability and unity). The third part (Sections 9, 10, 11, 12) is designed to consider China’s foreign relationships with different countries/regions around the world over various issues. The countries/regions discussed include Taiwan, Africa, the European Union, and the United States.

Course leader

Yih-Jye Hwang

Target group

This course is for specialization in politics and international relations. Before taking this course, students should be familiar with the major theories of international relations such as realism, liberalism, and constructivism, as well as key concepts of international relations such as power and sovereignty.

Course aim

In this course, students will learn valuable theoretical, methodological, and analytical skills enabling them to interpret key issues in the politics and international relations of China. By the end of the course each student is expected to develop the following skills:
• Understanding of Chinese Politics and International Relations o Critically identify and discuss key issues surrounding the history and development of China’s politics and international relations. o A critical awareness of the key debates concerning the rise of China.
• Knowledge of International Relations Theories and Its Applications o Critically reflect upon key theories and concepts of IR theories using a variety of case studies related to Chinese politics and international relations. o Apply conceptual tools to analyse key events and processes in Chinese politics and international relations.
• Intellectual Skills o Demonstrate appropriate cognitive, communicative, and transferable skills, develop the capacity for independent learning, critique major texts on Chinese politics and international relations, and participate in class debates. o Display the confidence to present their arguments in relevant academic contexts (seminars, workshops, conferences) for specialists in IR of China.

Fee info

EUR 699: Tuition fee.


No scholarships are available for this course.