PS 466/PS 566: Politics in East Asia

Prof Mel Gurtov
Office: 650D Urban Affairs Building
Telephone: (502) 725-5974


Office Hours: Tues 9-10; W 9-12 & by appt.

Course Purposes:

This course in comparative politics is designed mainly to acquaint the student with government and governance in the performance of Asia-Pacific's diverse political economies.  China's political system receives primary attention: the ways in which Chinese Marxist ideology, organization, and institutions have evolved in the Mao and reform eras, and how (and whether) these factors affect the political, social and economic life of China's citizens.  We also explore how China, and other Asian governments (principally Japan, South Korea, and the ten ASEAN states) define and cope with problems of economic and political development.

The student should learn from the course how to identify and compare different political systems and political economies; be able to distinguish governance processes and government institutions; understand the diverse and changing approaches to economic and political development; and evaluate what development means.


J.C.F. Wang, Contemporary Chinese Politics (7th ed.).
Anita Chan et al., Chen Village Under Mao and Deng
Maidment et al., Governance in the Asia-Pacific
S. Kim, ed., East Asia and Globalization (graduate students only)

Course requirements:

Grades are based on (1) a midterm exam, November 4; (2) a research paper of 8-10 pages, due in class November 18; (3) the final exam, December 6 at 10:15 AM, covering the work of the entire course; and (4) consistent attendance and class participation.  In addition: take notes or don't take the class.

Graduate students should see me early in the quarter to discuss additional reading and paper assignments. You are expected to read all starred (*) items.

Please take note: Students are responsible for being aware of the date and time of the final examination, and making preparations to take it then.  Only in exceptional circumstances will a final exam be given at another time.  Likewise, the grade of I (incomplete) will only be given in extraordinary circumstances, and then only if the student has attended class regularly and completed all other assignments.

Overheads: Asia Diverse Political System; Revolutionary Thought; Government and Governance In East Asia, Chinese Political Models, The Challenges Of Governing China, 1949, Leadership Theory and Practice, Key Features of the Chinese Political System, Mao and the Party establishment, The Military in Asian Politics

Discussion Sequence: ( * = On resource with me)

  1. Welcome to East Asia: An outline of China's modern political history and key problems for analysis of East Asian politics.
  Readings Wang, ch. 1, for background on Chinese history. Graduate students should begin reading East Asian and Globalization, starting with chs. 1 and 5.

The Meaning of Revolution

  Readings Wang, chs. 2-3
Chen Village, pp. 1-24
Maidment, ch. 1
*Mao, Selected Readings, pp. 11-39, 134-57, 163-176, 371-288, 179-81, 310-11, 320-23; *L. Dittmer, China's Continuous Revolution, chs. 1-3; *Deng Xiaoping, Fundamental Issues in Present-Day China, selections beginning at pp. 1, 174-185

The Party-State in China and East Asia, I

  Readings: Wang, chs. 4-5, 10 and party and state constitutions in appendices
Chen Village, pp. 24-40 and chs. 2-3
Maidment, ch. 2
*Mao, pp. 51-57, 65-133, 287-294; 7; A. Nathan, China's Crisis, ch. 2; M. Pei, "China's Crisis of Governance," Foreign Affairs (2002); Deng, selections at pp. 101, 113,136-140,145-166
Film: "China: The Mao Years"

The Party-State, II: The Military

  Readings: Wang, ch. 9
*Gurtov & Hwang, China's Security; Deng, readings at pp. 89, 97
  5. Politics in Japan

Maidment, ch. 3 and pp. 172-76; ch. 6, pp. 130-35
Internet research: migrant workers, aging society, civil society
Japan's constitution and reform efforts
*Japan's Goals in the 21st Century
* Selections from Asian Perspective special issue on Japan (2000); Kim, ch. 3; *Colignon & Usui, "The Resilience of Japan's Iron Triangle," Asian Survey (2002)


The Politics of Development and the Developmental State


Wang, ch. 7, 11 and Chen Village, chs. 4-6
Chen Village, chs.8-10
*Mao, Selected Readings, pp. 432-498, esp. parts V & VIII; Deng, selections at pp. 24, 67, 89, 105, 120, 141, 167-173, 186;  *Yang, Calamity and Reform in China; or Zhou, How the Farmers Changed China; Asian Development Bank, Asian Development 2000 (China section)
Film: "China in the Red" (Frontline)

Korea and East Asia: Maidment, ch. 6 (from p. 135) and 7-8
* Kim, chs. 4, 7, 8, 9; * Y. W. Kihl, ed., Transforming Korean Politics (chapters)


East Asia and Global Issues

  Readings: Maidment, ch. 10; Wang, ch. 6
* U.S. State Department report on human rights in China; * V. Smil, China's Environmental Crisis
  8. The Changing State in East Asia
  Readings: Wang, ch. 8
Chen Village, chs. 11-12
Maidment, chs. 11-12
* Deng, pp. 48, 59, 64, 93, 118; H. Harding, China's Second Revolution,, or R. Baum, Burying Mao
Jim Yardley, Rule by Law: A Judge Tests China's Courts, Making History

Instructions for Papers

1. Topic:  Choose any topic within the scope of the course.  Check with me to make certain your choice is appropriate, and that your paper will have a proper analytical focus.  That means avoiding topics that fall within the realm of history (except as historical matters bear on present-day politics) and international relations.

2. Approach: Your paper should be a political analysis, not a mere description of events.  Whether you choose to focus on art and literature, the political system, some aspect of the economy, or social issues, the point to emphasize is the politics of your subject.

3. The Paper: 8-10 pages, using a minimum of 6 sources (including at least one primary source, such as official documents or newspapers).  You may cite the course texts, but they will not be counted among your sources.  The Internet may be used for official documents, newspapers, and published, signed scholarly articles.  (In your notes, refer to Internet sources by address and original source.)  Do not use news magazines such as Time or encyclopedias. 

4.  Citing sources:  Use any consistent form for citing sources: footnotes, endnotes, in-text notes.  Every source should have a note.  A bibliography is not needed; include relevant information (author, article and journal or book title, and page numbers) in your notes.[1]  Learn use of ibid. when referring again to a source.[2]    See examples below.

[1] Morton Smyth, ed., Henry Kissinger's Diplomacy (New York: Norton, 1995), pp. 1-10; Mary Jones, "Clinton's China Connection," Journal of International Security, vol. LXI, No. 3 (Summer, 1998), pp. 8-12.

[2] Ibid., p. 10. [Ibid. refers to last-mentioned source.]

5.  Writing: Check spelling, punctuation, and grammar.  (If you don't yet know the following distinctions, learn them: there/their, principal/principle, its/it's, affect/effect, to/too, country's/countries.)  A sloppily written paper will count heavily against you. Don't forget to paginate your essay and title it.  Use 12-point font, please.  Do not rely excessively on any one source. 

6. Questions?  I'm here; and I would like to see each of you at some time during your research.

Research Resources (in English)

  Reference Works (China)

Mao Zedong, SELECTED WORKS (5 vols., Beijing edition)
Michael Kau & John Leung, eds., THE WRITINGS OF MAO ZEDONG, 1949-76


Major Periodicals and Serial Publications ( * = recent issues available in my office) ( ** = available in PSU library)

*ASIAN PERSPECTIVE (quarterly; Inst. of Far Eastern Studies, Seoul and PSU)
**ASIAN SURVEY (UC Berkeley; monthly)
CHINESE LAW AND GOVERNMENT (translations; quarterly)
CONTEMPORARY CHINA (quarterly, Columbia University)
**FOREIGN BROADCAST INFORMATION SERVICE: DAILY REPORT, China (U.S. State Department; daily press and radio translations)
**JOURNAL OF ASIAN STUDIES  (Assoc. for Asian Studies; quarterly)
**MODERN CHINA (UCLA; quarterly)
**PACIFIC AFFAIRS (UBC, Vancouver; quarterly)
**PACIFIC REVIEW (quarterly)
**BEIJING REVIEW (Beijing, weekly) 
**PROBLEMS OF COMMUNISM (U.S.I.S., Washington, D.C., bi-monthly)



Newspapers such as China Daily (Beijing), Asahi Shimbun (Tokyo), Korea Times (Seoul), and South China Morning Post (Hong Kong) are all on the web.

Country studies of politics, economy, and environment are accessible through the web sites of the World Bank, Asian Development Bank, Nautilus Institute, NBR reports, and many others.