Chinese Political Institutions

The Chinese Political Institutions course has two objectives: 1) To understand the policy process in China today. How do Chinese political institutions operate? How are Chinese leaders chosen and its officials promoted? How are policies in different issue arenas formulated and implemented?  What are the dynamics between central and local governments? How do economic and social interest groups influence the policy process? 2) To understand why China’s political system has been so resilient and what challenges it faces in the future.  How has the communist political system evolved? How does it maintain its sway over a society undergoing massive change as a result of economic reform and opening to the world?

The course covers both major theoretical and practical perspectives of exploring Chinese political institutions. The main features of the course include: (1) the course is offered by both international and local scholars. The anchor professor has extensive experience in studying China from a comparative perspective, and complemented by the co-instructor’s in-depth knowledge and experience within China; (2) the course is committed to bridging the linkage between political theory and real world application in understanding Chinese political institutions by including talks by distinguished academic and political leaders; (3) the course attempts to analyze Chinese political institutions in a comparative perspective, and learn the experiences and lessons for the other part of world from the case of China. The design, content and format of this course are aimed optimally to benefit Schwarzman Scholars in both knowledge accumulation and practical orientation.

Lead Faculty: 

Meng Tianguang, Associate Professor of Political Science and Associate Dean in the School of Social Sciences, Tsinghua University

Susan L. ShirkResearch Professor and Chair of the 21st Century China Center, School of Global Policy and Strategy, University of California, San Diego


Molly RobertsAssociate Professor in the Department of Political Science and the Halıcıoğlu Data Science Institute at the University of California, San Diego

Victor Shih, Ho Miu Lam Chair Associate Professor in China and Pacific Relations at the University of California at San Diego


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