China’s impressive development during the past 40 years is often perceived as challenging the United States as the most powerful player in global politics. As the American economy has slowed down during the pandemic and the American political system is under pressure internally, arguments in support of the rise of China appear to be more convincing than ever. Is China really rising? What are the origins and underpinnings of China’s development? And what are the implications of China’s rise for foreign politics? This course examines the causes and consequences of China’s rise. Although there is a strong focus on domestic politics, we will also spend considerable time and energy on understanding China’s foreign policy. Students do not need to have any previous knowledge about China.
The course is divided into two parts. The first part covers the origins and underpinnings of China’s development marked by fostering economic development with limited political reform. The second part examines key factors in explaining China’s foreign policy. This includes basic developments in China's bilateral relations with other states, particularly the United States and China's relations with other actors in international politics, such as the European Union.
In addition to understanding the political dynamics involved in China’s rise, we also explore challenges and strategies to build a cooperative relationship with China. As part of the US-China trade war many companies and states feel under pressure to choose one side, which fosters an atmosphere conducive to conflict. Proponents of this strategy argue that countries need to build an alliance with a strong stance against China. Others argue that it is important to continue to seek cooperation with liberal forces inside the country to avoid future conflict. This course gives you the opportunity to develop your own stance on this question by starting to build understanding of China on your own.