The Rise of China in Historical Perspective

This course studies how political, economic and ideological factors have affected the rise, the fall and the resurgence of China in the past few centuries. It first explores why China could not undergo an industrial revolution despite its early economic and technological leadership in the world. It then studies why Mao’s socialist transformation did not help China to catch up with the West, even though the Communist victory in 1949 had ended China’s century of humiliation. The course then investigates how the reforms initiated by Deng after 1978 have evolved over time and brought China back to a major world power. The post-1978 development model is studied from the historical perspective, with emphasis on how major institutions have inherited from Mao’s time and changed gradually to their current forms. Students will be guided to think about the much-debated issue of the sustainability of China’s development model.


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