Wells College
International Studies 385
China in the Global Political Economy
Spring 2000

Instructor: Tukumbi Lumumba-Kasongo
Cleveland Hall 108
Office Hours:
Monday: 11:00-12:00
Thursday:  2:00-5:00
Telephone: 364-3220

Required Texts

Lester R. Brown, Who Will Feed China: Awake-Up Call for A Small Planet, W.W. Norton, Co, 1995.

John R. Faust and Judith Kornberg (eds), China in World Politics, Lynne Rienner, 1995.

Chih-yu-Shih, State and Society in China’s Political Economy: The Cultural Dynamics of Socialist Reforms, Lynne Rienner, 1995.

Tan Quingshan, The Making of US-China Policy from Normalization to Post-Cold War Era, Lynne Rienner, 1992.

Course Description

In this seminar, we will critically examine the nature of the Chinese society since its political leaders proclaimed it the People’s Republic of China in 1949, its dominant ideology, its cultural and political structures, and its economic and social policies. We will focus on the elements of the Chinese model of development from Chairman Mao to the economic reformist advocates.  Within each important period in Chinese development, we discuss the Chinese perception of the world politics among its leaders and China’s role in the world. That is to say that we will analyze the Chinese political economy and its relationship with the global political economy as dominated by the industrial capitalist societies and China’s relations with its neighbors.

Since the 1970s, the Chinese political leaders and the China’s Communist Party (CCP) have engaged the country and the society at large in substantial economic reforms that have affected most aspects and/or sectors of the society such as education, labor policy, production, living standards, market, social relations, the perceptions of the world politics, and China’s relations with the Soviet Union or Russia. We will expand on China’s politics during the Cold War and the Post Cold War Eras. Thus, we will spend enough time in defining what has been called: “The Socialist State with the Market Economy.” What does that mean for the state, workers, people, multinational corporations doing business in China, and other actors in the international political economy? Some of the general issues related to socialism with market economy and which will be discussed will include environment, migration, rural development, and women’s labor.

As a seminar, the course is organized on the premise that my lectures should stimulate discussions and raise issues.


(1) Class attendance and participation are required. It will count for 10% of the total grade;

(2) Any unjustifiable absence will be penalized. The penalty will be reflected on the final grade. The following policy on the unjustified absences will be applied:
(a) For two absences, 15 points will be deducted from the total grade;
(b) For three or four absences, 25 points will be deducted from the total grade;
(c) For five absences, 35 points will be deducted from the total grade;
(c) And for 6 or more absences, students will lose the entire grade for this course.

(3) The first paper will be counted for 20% of the total grade;

(4) A bookreview will be counted for 15%;

(5) Class presentation will count for 20%;

(6) And the final paper will count for 35% of the total grade.

Specific Assignments

(a) The first paper

Every student will write a paper of 12-14 pages (typed and double-spaced) with references.  The minimum number of references is 6 and the maximum is 10.  The paper is due on March 16, 2000 at 5:00 P.M.

The theme for the paper: “Discuss the political economy of the Chinese Cultural Revolution with a particular attention to the market and the labor policy and practices, migration and the policy of accumulation of the surplus among the peasants in any regions of the Chinese society.”

Some questions that may help students select the issues to deal with in this research essay are: What did the Cultural Revolution mean to hundred of millions of peasants? Did this revolution affect their daily economic activities? Did the Cultural Revolution encourage or discourage the organization of small enterprises? Did peasants decide to move to the urban areas as a result of political pressure from the ruling party? What have been the political implications of such a movement in defining the Chinese socialism?

 (b) The second paper: a Book review

Student will write a critical review of 4-5 pages, typed and double-spaced, to deal with some aspects of China-United States relations.  It consists of chapters 3 and 4 of Tan Qingshan’s book on The Making of U.S. China Policy: From Normalization to the Post-Cold War Era, Lynne Rienner, 1992. In this review, students will identify major policy issues and arguments according to the author and elaborate on their strengths and weaknesses. A review is not a simple summary of the major ideas of the book but a critical evaluation of materials from the evaluator’s point of view.  It is due at 5:00 P.M., April 17, 2000.

(c) Class Presentation

Students will make a research presentation of 20-25 minutes on one of the suggested topics listed below.  We will make sure that students do not have common or the same topics. Presentations will be on Tuesday, May 2 and 9.

(1) Peasant Women and Economic Development;
(2) Child labor;
(3) Formal Education and Political Organization;
(4) China’s relationship with Countries of the South; Choose one or two countries in the South;
(5) The Role of Ideology in Planning;
(6) China and Nuclear Capabilities.
(7) The contribution of Chinese people who reside in industrial countries to the Main land’s economy;
(8) And the role of traditions in the political economy and development.

(d) The final paper

Students are free to choose any aspects of this class that we did not have any chance to fully elaborate and discuss in the seminar.  However, I encourage students to select topics that are related to their class presentations so that some aspects or materials from the presentations can be used in the final paper. The final paper is due on Monday, May 15, 2000 at 5:00.


2/1-Introduction: Issues and Requirements
State and Society in China’s Political Economy, chapter 1. And China in World Politics, Chapter 1.

2/8- Chinese Politics and its Communist Ideology in their Historical Context
China in World Politics, chapter 2.

2/15- Mao Tse-Tung, Maoism, Marxism, Cold War, and the Chinese Politics
China in World Politics, chapter 1.
-Film of “Mao-Tse-Tung” will be shown in class (25 minutes).

2/22 Economic Reforms within the Context of the Dynamics of the World
Economic Reforms,
China in World Politics, chapter 3.

2/29-Concepts of Calculated Socialism and Market Socialism, and their Policy and Political Implications,
State and Society in China’s Political Economy, chapters 4 and 5.

3/7-Communism and the Collapse of the Soviet Union
China in World Politics, chapter 4.
-Film on “History of Communism in the 20th Century;” will be shown in class.

3/14-Socialism, Enterprises, Investments, and the Workers’s Culture
State and Society in China’s Political Economy, chapters 6, 7, and 5.

3/28-Profits and the Principle of self-consciousness
State and Society in China’s Political Economy, chapter 9 and 10.

4/4-Issues on China, Food, and Population
Who will feed China?, chapters 1, 2, 3,8, and 9.
Film on “China’s only Child” will be shown in class.

4/11-China and the United States
China in World Politics, chapter 5.

4/18-China and Its Neighbors
China in World Politics, chapter 6.

4/25 China and Japan
China in World Politics, chapter 7.

5/2-The Rise of China: Alternative Scenarios--2000 and Beyond
China in World Politics, chapter 9
-First group of Class Presentations

5/ 9-Second Group of Class Presentations
Biography and Research Projects
Course List and Suggested Reading
Email the Professor

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