The eyes of the world turned this week to China’s 18th National Communist Party Congress for the unveiling of Xi Jinping as the country’s new president and the composition of the party’s seven-member politburo standing committee, the pivotal decision-making body within the Chinese 0ne-party state.
Xi and the new leadership team inherit a China whose power in international affairs is waxing, but which faces a number of inter-related global and domestic problems, ranging from the global sovereign debt crisis, climate change and resource competition to territorial disputes, demographic imbalances, corruption and environmental pollution.
I have addressed these issues in a series of six lectures delivered to first-year undergraduate students taking the subject Introduction to Asia: China and India, covering Chinese geography, history, politics, economy, gender relations and youth culture.
The six lectures are tied together by several common themes, including China’s incredible geographic, ethnic and cultural diversity, it’s dual exceptionalist and wounded nationalism, and the Deng Xiaoping-era social bargain between the Communist Party and the Chinese people based on improving living standards in exchange for acquiescence to one-party rule.
This is the first year I have delivered this series of lectures so any constructive feedback is greatly appreciated. Thanks also to Dr James Leibold, Dr Peter Friedlander and Dr Can Qing for their assistance with production of these lectures.