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Chinese Politics Part 1 – China and Political Science (Coursera)

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This course offers a conceptual framework for understanding China that highlights the intersection of politics and economics. It shows that rather than develop into a full blown market economy, state and party officials at all levels of the political system maintain significant influence in economic development. Such a “political” economy has had both positive and negative outcomes, which we will assess in detail.

We also look at the origins, views, backgrounds and relations among leaders, and how those leaders make decisions about public policy and try to get those decisions implemented down through the system. China has few formal institutions through which citizens can participate in politics, but we will study the strategies Chinese people use to try to influence their leaders’ decisions. Finally, we assess China’s future and whether rapid economic development and the emergence of a vibrant middle class will push China towards greater democracy or whether the single party system is likely to survive into the future. The course is a quite useful background for Chinese Politics Part 2 – China and the World.