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The Rise of China and Its Implications For World Politics

Maastricht Summer School
Netherlands, Maastricht
Maastricht Summer School Netherlands, Bonnefantenstraat 2, 6211 KL Maastricht, The Netherlands
Tuition fee €899 one-time
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Course Description
This course aims to provide a thorough analysis of the important issues and processes related to China’s politics and international relations. It focuses on developments that have taken place since the end of the Cold War, with a particular emphasis on China’s economic, political, military, and cultural growth and their implications for international politics up to the present day.
In 1989, protesters gathered in Tiananmen Square to demand greater political rights. At that time, many Western observers believed China would follow the same path as the Soviet Union and collapse. However, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) continued to hold power and negotiated to end the Cold War, laying the foundation for China’s rise as a world power. Today, China has successfully integrated into the world economy and played an important political role. But despite this success, China is seen as a ‘fragile superpower’ due to its vulnerability to domestic and international pressures. The CCP’s lack of legitimacy, as it is not based on an electoral/democratic system, has been a concern for many Western scholars, journalists, and observers. The riots and protests in Tibet in 2008, Xinjiang in 2009, Hong Kong in 2014 and 2019, and the outbreak of the coronavirus in 2020 have all, to some extent, confirmed these concerns.
The ascent of China is perceived by many as a threat to the stability of the current world order. There is a concern among foreigners that the country’s swift development could disrupt the Indo-Pacific region. The military and political tensions between China and Taiwan, coupled with China’s historical animosity towards Japan, add to the apprehension. Moreover, China’s continued land reclamation activities on disputed islands in the South China Sea have raised concerns. Several Western countries, including the United States, are apprehensive about relinquishing their dominance and often anticipate the emergence of China as a global power.
Given the current state of affairs, the global political landscape may soon undergo a significant transformation. With the rise of the global South, the global markets in a state of turmoil, supply chains widely affected by the U.S.-China trade and tech/chip war, the outbreak of COVID-19, and most recently, the Ukraine war and the Gaza crisis, there is a possibility of an alteration in the international political order. This raises several questions, such as how exactly the international order will change, whether we are moving away from the U.S.-centric world order to a more China-centric world order, and in what ways. Furthermore, what would a world order centered on China entail?
This course aims to provide a comprehensive analysis of China’s ascent, drawing insights from IR and political theory. The course is divided into three parts, consisting of 12 sessions in total.

Throughout this course, students will acquire a range of theoretical, methodological, and analytical skills that will enable them to effectively interpret fundamental issues in China’s politics and international relations. By the completion of the course, each student is expected to have developed the following skills:
• Understanding of Chinese Politics and International Relations
-Critically identify and discuss key issues surrounding the history and development of China’s politics and international relations.
-A critical awareness of the key debates concerning the rise of China.
• Knowledge of International Relations Theories and Its Applications
-Critically reflect upon key theories and concepts of IR theories using a variety of case studies related to Chinese politics and international relations.
-Apply conceptual tools to analyse key events and processes in Chinese politics and international relations.
• Intellectual Skills
-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.
-Display the confidence to present their arguments in relevant academic contexts (seminars, workshops, conferences) for specialists in IR of China.

Recommended Literature
There is no single textbook for this class. All reading materials are journal articles or book chapters, available electronically in the University Libraries.
Sample articles:
• Hwang, Y.J. (2021). The births of International Studies in China. Review of International Studies, 47(5), 580–600.
• Johnston, A.I. (1995) Cultural Realism: Strategic Culture and Grand Strategy in Chinese History (Princeton: Princeton University). Chapter 3.
• Mearsheimer, J. J. (2021). The Inevitable Rivalry: America, China, and the Tragedy of Great-Power Politics. Foreign Affairs (New York, N.Y.), 100(6), 48.

Teaching Methods
Assignments, Lectures, Papers, Presentations, Work in subgroups

Assessment Methods
Assignment, Attendance, Final paper, Participation, Presentation

Course Coordinator
Yih-Jye Hwang

Programme structure

Course Structure:
1. The first part (Sessions 1-4): Offers a general introduction to China’s political landscape and international relations, including its worldview, strategic thinking, and Chinese theories of international relations.
2. The second part (Sessions 5-8): Seeks to explore whether China’s rise is a real phenomenon and examines its characteristics, including an analysis of China’s hard and soft power. It also considers the challenges China faces, such as maintaining stability and unity.
3. The third part (Sessions 9-12): Analyses China’s foreign relationships with various countries and regions across the world, exploring different issues that arise. The countries and regions discussed include Taiwan, Africa, the European Union, and the United States.

Apply now! Maastricht Summer School 2023/24
Application deadline
15 Jun 2024, 23:59:59
Central European Time
Studies commence
8 Jul 2024
Apply now! Maastricht Summer School 2023/24
Application deadline
15 Jun 2024, 23:59:59
Central European Time
Studies commence
8 Jul 2024