Politics and Public Policy in China

You may choose your favorite reference/bibliographic style.

Final Policy Paper Guidelines

Please write a paper analyzing an important issue in Chinese politics and public policy. You will generally address one of the areas we are covering but we are open to other topics. Final paper topics must be approved by TAs or Professor Yang beforehand. You may also post your topic/outline on canvas for comment.

Remember that this is a class dealing with China’s domestic politics. We advise you to refrain from choosing topics that primarily address China’s foreign policy. Some topics may have both a foreign and a domestic component; such topics are acceptable if their primary emphasis is on the domestic component. For instance, you may write on Chinese domestic responses to international issues or domestic causes of China’s foreign behavior. If in doubt, don’t hesitate to consult with us.

What we are looking for: a coherent, thoughtful, and well-organized analysis of a significant political or policy issue pertaining to China. The issue may be posed in the form of a question or a set of questions.

  1. Identify a significant policy issue facing China. Briefly describe and explain why it is important. In other words, articulate the thesis you’re trying to address.

For example:
Why did the Chinese leadership dramatically escalate its efforts to “pacify” Xinjiang around 2016-17? Have the recent changes in leadership in Xinjiang signaled moderation in China’s approach toward Xinjiang? Is this shift in response to international criticism?

For example: China has built the world’s largest high-speed railway system. What institutional/political factors make China especially effective in doing so?

  1. Provide evidence to support your argument. You should draw not only on class readings, but also on outside sources such as journal articles, secondary readings, newspaper reports etc. We recognize you may not have all the evidence or supporting materials needed and sometimes you may find it useful to indicate what you expect to find in the fullness of time.
  2. If desirable, you may offer proposed solutions or responses if any or recommend reforms if warranted. But this is not necessary. Our goal here is to understand and assess.
  3. If you write on any topic related to the class, please try to make proper references to the readings on the syllabus to demonstrate your familiarity with these materials. You may also refer to class lectures as appropriate. You should also make proper references to other materials, which could be papers in academic journals, reports, or online materials. Be aware of any political biases that may be harbored by the author(s).

Technical details:

  1. We recognize that machines sometimes break down and things may not go as planned—so it’s your responsibility to always have a Plan B. Please do have a backup of your paper.
  2. Your paper should no more than 10 pages, double spaced (if you have approval to turn your paper into the Long Paper, you should still follow this rule and submit the expanded Long Paper separately by arrangement).
  3. Use twelve-point font and one-inch margins. Remember to paginate.
  4. This issue often comes up and here again it is: You may choose your favorite reference/bibliographic style.

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