Course Description Department of Government and Public Administration - CUHK

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Course Description

(1) Required Courses:

Institution and Reform in Contemporary China

This course aims to understand and analyze the political and economic institutions of the People’s Republic of China and their evolutions since the late 1970s. Throughout the course students will critically examine various aspects of China’s institution and reform, including the bureaucratic management, intergovernmental relations, marketization and privatization reforms, legislative and legal developments, possibility and difficulty of democratization, rise and control of corruption, and state-society relations.

Greater China and the World

This course is designed to survey and analyze the rise of China and its role in the global system in multiple dimensions as well as its relations with the rest of the world. The lectures begin with the discussion of China’s rise in economic, political, diplomatic and military aspects. We will next examine China’s evolving attitude towards the outside world and its diplomatic relations with other countries and international organizations as well as its soft influence. We will assess the challenges that China faces in the era of globalization towards the end of the course.

Public Policy and Administration in Greater China

China has embarked her economic reforms since the late 1970s when Deng Xiaoping initiated the “Reform and Open Door” policy. The economic transformation over the last three decades has been remarkable and significant. The most notable one is the successful transformation of a centralized and planned economy into a market one. China joined the World Trade Organization (WTO) in 2002 to engage fully with the globalization trend. Recently, China has surpassed Japan to become the second largest economy in the world, along with a rising nation with comprehensive national strength and power. All these have had profound administrative and political consequences not only to mainland China, but also have substantial impacts upon Hong Kong SAR, Macau SAR, Taiwan and the rest of the world.

Hong Kong SAR has been integrating with the southern part of China by moving her manufacturing and production lines to the Pearl River Delta since 1980s. With the introduction of the schema CEPA (Mainland and Hong Kong Closer Economic Partnership Arrangement) in 2003, Hong Kong has further become the top provider for goods and services to the mainlanders on tourism, medical services, luxurious goods, asset management, housing and education. Macau SAR has followed the similar trend too by emphasizing gambling and tourism after the termination of the Portuguese rule in 1999. As for Taiwan, peace and stability has become the dominant agenda across the Taiwan Strait these days, witnessing the increasing flow of tourists, students, cultural exchanges, trade, investment and other economic activities across the Strait. The Economic Cooperation Framework Agreement (ECFA) signed in 2010 between Taiwan and the Mainland has further signified the strength and importance of the relationship across the Strait.

Given this backdrop and the effects of globalization and regionalization, this course will investigate and study the underlying structures, causes and effects of the administrative systems and public policies in Greater China. Special attention will also be given to the substantive differences in institutions, different governance styles, developmental stages, and varied political processes that still prevail in the Mainland, Hong Kong SAR, Macau SAR and Taiwan, which will entail differences among these four regions. Specifically, the course provides critical examination and understanding to some of the most salient issues such as anti-corruption, higher education, health, housing and welfare, among others. All these policies will be tackled within the literature of comparative public administration and policy so that we can have a broader perspective. In short, a comparative approach will be used to shed light on the uniqueness and complexities of the public policy and administration and delineate their differences and similarities in Greater China.

Methods in Social Science Research

This course introduces common methods used in social science research, with a special focus on quantitative methods. In particular, it will teach students practical tools to conduct causal analysis, using both observational and experimental data. These tools include basic descriptive statistics, multiple regression analysis, and the application of instrumental variables.

(2) Elective Courses (Not all elective courses are offered every year)

GPGC5002 (Compulsory course for 2021 cohort or before)

HK, Macao, Taiwan Politics in Comparative Perspective

This course examines the government and politics of Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan from comparative perspectives. The wide ranging topics include their postcolonial political development; democratization: institutions, processes and participation; state-society relations; politics and interactions of the three regions with China, etc.

Political Economy and Business Environment of Greater China

This course applies theories and methods of contemporary political economy to important topics about business environment in Greater China. For pedagogical purposes, course content is organized by theme rather than geographical location or time span. Specifically, I divide course content into six thematic fields. They are general legal system, protection of commercial activities, financial institutions, state-market relations, sustainable development, and defense industry base. All thematic fields further include sub-literatures that I am going to cover in each week.

Politics of Transition and Greater China

This course will focus on the political economy of transition of former communist countries and reforming socialist countries, with Greater China situated in this context. It will examine the major political, economic, and social transformations of these countries, and discuss the major patterns of changes.

Anti-Corruption in Comparative Perspective

This course presents an in-depth survey of best practices adopted by governments, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), and other stakeholders to eradicate corruption and promote transparency. The course reviews elements in public sector management commonly known as "good governance," the causes and effects of corruption, and undertakes a comparative study of domestic and multilateral anti-corruption efforts.

Taiwan in Comparative Perspective

This course introduces the history, society, politics, and economy of Taiwan. In particular, it will focus the dramatic economic and political transformations that Taiwan has experienced in the post-war era. It will also examine key issues confronting contemporary Taiwanese society, including identity politics, cross-strait relations, democratization and democratic consolidation, and economic restructuring.

Public Governance and Civil Service in Hong Kong

This course introduces the theory and practice of public governance and civil service in Hong Kong. Public governance can be analysed in various ways. This course will concentrate on the external environment, including the historical, political, economic, institutional and structural factors, interact with micro-level factors to shape policy and administration in Hong Kong. It will also examine how the government responds to external challenges, thereby resulting in change in public policy and governance system.

State-Society Relations in Greater China

This course is designed to expose graduate students to the latest developments of state-society relations in Greater China. It will also exam major debates over state-society relationships in the study of contemporary Greater China's politics, such as "the reach of the state," citizenship and rights, civil society and democratization. The course also encourages students to consider how well the state-society paradigm works in Greater China studies.

Environmental Politics of Greater China

This course is designed as both an introduction of environmental politics and a sectoral analysis of general politics in the context of contemporary Greater China. On the one hand, it introduces environmental governance and politics in general in the mainland, Hong Kong and Taiwan. On the other hand, it uses the case of environmental politics to teach students about political changes in the three places in the past three decades.

Political Thought in Contemporary China

This course examines the development of contemporary Chinese political thought from a historical and philosophical perspective. It introduces the social and cultural background that political thought arises, and evaluates the arguments of different schools. These schools include conservatism, neo-Confucianism, liberalism, Marxism, nationalism, neo-left, neo-authoritarianism, and etc. The focus will be on how they respond to the challenge of modernity with different proposals.

Human Rights and Constitutionalism in Greater China

The course offers students an opportunity to explore the important themes of human rights and constitutionalism in Greater China. As the only region without a regional human rights regime, Asia has relied more completely on domestic constitutionalism and legislative enactment to articulate and implement human rights commitments. This has often made human rights debate a matter of local politics. In this respect, China has had a noteworthy engagement with some of the central themes in the human rights debate, relating human rights to culture, to the political economy of development, democratization, international relations, and civil society. The course will explore these rich Chinese themes and efforts.

Selected Topic in Government and Politics of Greater China (I)

This course conducts graduate-level studies on some important topics in government and politics of Greater China. The topics may include issues such as electoral studies, inter-governmental relations, contentious politics, and gender and politics. The focus of the course may vary from year to year according to the area of expertise of the instructor and the interests of the class.

Political Communication in Practice

This course aims at introducing students the basic theories and practices of political communication. It would explore the ways in which political messages are sent and received so that students can better understand how their lives are shaped, and then have a better reflection of real life politics. Moreover, while political communication becomes a rising profession, this course can provide a basic training to those students who want to begin their careers in this field.

Selected Topic in Government and Politics of Greater China (II)

This course conducts graduate-level studies on some important topics in government and politics of Greater China. The topics may include issues such as electoral studies, inter-governmental relations, contentious politics, and gender politics. The focus of the course may vary from year to year according to the area of expertise of the instructor and the interests of the class.

(3) Outside Elective Course

Environmental Policy Analysis

This course introduces students to the fundamental concepts of the environmental policy cycle in the context of the institutional setup, political ecology and advocacy of various stakeholders. The key considerations in environmental policy-making will be examined and appropriateness of different policy instruments in different contexts will be discussed. Students will be asked to discuss examples of current policies and policy instruments in Hong Kong, China and the world at large.