Module Information

Module Identifier
Module Title
Chinese Foreign Policy
Academic Year
Semester 2
Other Staff

Course Delivery

Delivery Type Delivery length / details
Lecture 14 Hours (14 x 1 hour)
Seminars / Tutorials 6 Hours (6 x 1 hours)


Assessment Type Assessment length / details Proportion
Semester Assessment Seminar performance  10%
Semester Assessment 1 x 2,500 word essay  40%
Semester Exam 2 Hours   (1 x 2 hour exam)  50%
Supplementary Assessment 1 x 1,000 word assignment in lieu of seminar performance  10%
Supplementary Assessment 1 x 2,500 word essay  40%
Supplementary Exam 2 Hours   (1 x 2 hour exam)  50%

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this module students should be able to:

1. Understand major developments and important turning points in China's post-1949 foreign relations, identify key dates and policy makers
2. Make informed judgments about the role of ideology, tradition, and power struggle in China’s foreign policy making
3. Analyze the legitimacy discourse of the Chinese Communist Party
4. Reflect on the historical precedent in interpreting China's contemporary foreign policy

Brief description

This module offers an overview of Chinese foreign policy since the establishment of the People's Republic of China in 1949 until the present day. It will tackle both conceptual issues, i.e. the influence of ideological or realpolitik considerations on Beijing’s foreign policy decision making, and also explore specific case studies, including Mao's decision to "lean to one side", China's entry into the Korean War, the meaning and significance of the "Bandung discourse", the roots of Beijing's engagement with the 'third world', China's quarrel with the USSR and Beijing's international isolation during the Cultural Revolution, the move towards the Sino-American rapprochement, and a host of other topics. Students will investigate the underlying aims and means of China’s foreign policy and develop a historical perspective essential for an all-rounded understanding of the implications of China's rise.


1. Introduction: ideology and realpolitik in the making of Chinese foreign policy
2. Leaning to one side, 1949-1950
3. The Korean War, 1950-1953
Seminar 1: Work with primary sources: Mao Zedong's visit to Moscow, 1949-50

4. Geneva & the Bandung discourse, 1954-1955
5. Consequences of de-Stalinization, 1956
6. The Taiwan Crises, 1954-1958
Seminar 2: Work with primary sources: Mao/Zhou memcons

7. Towards the Sino-Soviet Split, 1958-1964
8. China and the "Afro-Asian World," 1958-1964
9. "All Under Heaven is Great Chaos," 1966-1969
Seminar 3: Work with primary sources: the Sino-Soviet polemic

10. The Sino-American Rapprochement, 1969-1972
11. China and Japan, 1972-1984
Seminar 5: Work with primary sources: Nixon's and Tanaka's visits to China, 1972

12. The Sino-American Normalization, 1979
13. Mending Fences with Moscow, 1982-1991
Seminar 6: Work with primary sources: Deng Xiaoping in Washington

14. The "China dream"


To acquaint students with the history of Chinese foreign policy since 1949.

Module Skills

Skills Type Skills details
Application of Number N/A
Communication Students will learn how to present their ideas both verbally and in writing and how to how to present their arguments most effectively. They will learn the importance of information and clear communication and how to exploit these. They will know how to use the many sources of information available and how to use the most appropriate form of communication to best advantage. They will learn to be clear in their writing and speaking and to be direct about aims and objectives. They will learn to consider only that which is relevant to the topic, focus and objectives of their argument or discussion. Students will also be required to submit their essays in word-processed format and the presentation of work should reflect effective expression of ideas and good use of language skills in order to ensure clarity, coherence and effective communication.
Improving own Learning and Performance The module aims to promote self-management but within a context in which support and assistance is available from both the convenor and fellow students alike. Students will be expected to improve their own learning and performance by undertaking their own research and exercising their own initiative, including searching for sources and deciding (under guidance) the direction of their coursework and presentation topics. The need to prepare for assessed seminar participation and to meet coursework deadlines will focus students' attention on the need to manage their time.
Information Technology Students will be expected to submit their work in word-processed format. Also, students will be encouraged to search for sources of information on the web, as well as seeking sources through electronic information sources.
Personal Development and Career planning This module is designed to hone and test skills of use to students in their working lives, particularly in speaking to small groups, listening, thinking and responding to the statement of others. Moreover, the written work includes writing clearly and concisely, which is a common task in the workplace. Students will be encouraged throughout to reflect on their performance and to consider lessons for future application.
Problem solving Independent work and problem solving will be one central goal of the module; the submission of the essay will require that students develop independent research skills as well as problem solving skills. The ability of students to solve problems will be developed and assessed by asking them to: adopt differing points of view; organize data and estimate an answer to the problem; consider extreme cases; reason logically; consider similar cases; look for patterns; divide issues into smaller problems.
Research skills Students will be required to undertake independent research for elements of the assessed work. This will involve utilizing media and web sources, as well as more conventional academic texts. Students will in part be assessed on their ability to gather appropriate and interesting resources materials.
Subject Specific Skills Students have the opportunity to develop, practice and test a wide range of subject specific skills that help them to understand, conceptualise and evaluate examples and ideas on the module. These subject specific skills include: - Collect and understand a wide range of data relating to the module
Team work Students will undertake team exercises in the seminars. For many of the topics of this module, seminars will consist of small-group discussions where students will be asked to discuss as a group the core issues related to the seminar topic. These class discussions and debates form a significant part of the module, and will allow students to approach and examine a given topic through team work.


This module is at CQFW Level 6