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Develop an understanding of China that encompasses the fast-paced changes and multiple dimensions shaping the country's political and economic development and its international interactions.


Explore China's political and economic system in contemporary and historical context including leadership, economic and political reform, foreign policy, US-China relations, and environmental challenges.

Contemporary Chinese Politics

Analyzes the domestic politics of the People’s Republic of China, with particular emphasis on the reform era.

This introductory course covers political history, policy process and institutional issues, leadership and the challenge of socioeconomic modernization. Focuses on recurrent and substantive policy issues in Chinese politics.

China and International Law

Over the past thirty years, China has gone from being one of the most isolated countries in the world to a major player in international affairs.

Yet despite its growing power and influence, it maintains an ambivalent attitude towards international law and the liberal international order. This class will explore that ambivalence, and will in particular examine how China might adapt to the existing world order and the ways in which China will look to influence its evolution. The class will cover China’s approach to international peace and security, China’s membership in the WTO, Beijing’s engagement with the international human rights regime, and the South China Sea dispute, among other topics.

US-China Relations

This course examines US policy toward China and specific US-Chinese political, economic, cultural, and security relations, with emphasis on the post-1949 period.

Students will examine the foreign policy process in each nation, recurrent policy issues and their implications for each nation’s behavior, and relations with third parties.

China’s National Security Perspectives

Along with China's emergence as a great power, Communist Party leaders in Beijing face a wide range of traditional and non-traditional security challenges.

Students will examine Chinese perspectives on, and responses to, contemporary national security issues such as North Korea's nuclear program, proliferation more generally, Taiwan and cross-Strait relations, energy security and sea lane protection, space and cyberspace security, and US ""rebalancing"" to the Asia-Pacific region.


Study with world-class experts who are renowned for their scholarship, influence, and networks.

Andrew Mertha

Vice Dean for Faculty Affairs and International Research Cooperation, George and Sadie Hyman Professor of China Studies, Director of the China Studies Program

David Bulman

The Jill McGovern and Steven Muller Assistant Professor of International Affairs and China Studies, Director of the Pacific Community Initiative

Ling Chen

Assistant Professor of Political Economy

Carla Freeman

Associate Research Professor of China Studies, Executive Director of the SAIS Foreign Policy Institute

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