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Governance in Contemporary China

Key information

Subject area:

Stackable Microcredentials

Course type:

Assessed Module

Credit level:


Credit value:



10 weeks

Available course dates:

From: 13 January 2025 To: 28 March 2025
Application deadline: 02 December 2024

Course overview

This module is primarily concerned with the transformation of Chinese communist system, government and bureaucracy, central-local relations, civil society and new media, rights movements, and political and legal reforms in the post-Mao era.

The aims of the course are threefold: Firstly, the course offers a critical examination of competing accounts of and explanations for the Chinese authoritarian government and political governance in the reform era. Secondly, the course is intended provide you with an intimate knowledge and in-depth understanding of China's institutional change in the larger context of post-communist transition and globalization. Thirdly, the course will help you think more carefully, critically, and creatively about the political governance in contemporary China from a broader comparative perspective by looking into the power structures rooted in similar kinds of polities and societies.

What does this course cover?

This module will cover the following:

  • Introduce you to authoritarian governance in contemporary China, with an emphasis on how the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) operates internally and governs the country.
  • Equip you with the analytical skills and foundational knowledge necessary to explain political developments in China.
  • Enable you to critically assess policy-making, appreciating the complexities of China's authoritarian polity, and move beyond simplistic explanations that portray it as a monolithic one-party state.
  • Examine the forms of authority in authoritarian regimes and how rational-legal and personalistic forms co-exist and affect political developments, using the Chinese party-state as a case study.
  • Analyse how the Chinese Communist Party has employed a wide range of initiatives and tools to strengthen authoritarian governance, including for example legal reforms, decentralisation and local elections.
  • Critically analyse the sources and processes of authoritarian adaptation and resilience in China and discern the trends that impact on the CCP's future evolution.
  • Introduce you to methodologies and methods to research and analyse authoritarian regimes under conditions of information scarcity.
  • Familiarise you with reliable, online resources on the Chinese party-state.

What will I achieve?

By the end of the module you will be able to: 

  • Discuss how the Chinese Communist Party operates, its strengths and weaknesses as a ruling entity and how it has managed to stay in power.
  • Analyse policymaking in the People’s Republic of China (PRC) by explaining the key institutions, actors, processes and terminology of Chinese governance.
  • Critically analyse policy and scholarly research and debates on the Chinese system of governance and the evolution of the Communist Party, as well as develop the ability to apply these insights to individual research projects.
  • Explain state-business relations in the PRC.
  • Offer informed opinion on China’s current political and economic developments.
  • Undertake consultancy, business, policy-oriented and/or academic research (at a PhD level) on current affairs.
  • Work independently and in collaboration with peers on a variety of tasks that include presentations, team discussions, research and written assignments.
  • Produce different written outputs, including short background papers and policy briefs as well as reflective and critical essays.
  • Acquire cultural competency through joint projects, discussions and workshops with classmates from a variety of cultural backgrounds.
  • Give, receive and reflect on constructive criticism by peers and teachers.

Who will I learn with?

Konstantinos  Tsimonis

Konstantinos Tsimonis

Senior Lecturer in Chinese Society

Who is this for?

​The standard entry requirements comprise: 

  • A 2:2 honours degree or international equivalent
  • A CV and personal statement outlining your reasons for study
  • English language band B (for example, IELTS 7.0 overall with a minimum of 6.5 in each skill). 

How will I be assessed?

​You will be assessed via coursework.

What is the teaching schedule?

This is an online module. You will be required to participate in two workshops that take place online or in person (attendance in-person is optional).

Further information

​This module is offered as part of our flexible master’s awards in Professional Development. The awards are one of the most flexible currently offered in the UK, providing the opportunity to study a range of modules from across King’s, both on-campus and online. Whether you are looking for a promotion or to retrain, you have come to the right place.   

Designed for mature professionals juggling life and work commitments, our postgraduate awards will enable you to study at your own pace. In challenging financial times, you are also able to fund your studies module-by-module.   

We will support you to select the right module diet that meets your objectives while ensuring that you are well prepared for success. We will also help you to build your professional network of peers from across our suite of CPD modules.  

We can’t wait for you to continue your lifelong learning journey here at King’s.

Course status:

Opening soon

Full fee £2333

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