SemesterFall Semester, 2019
DepartmentJunior Class of Department of Sociology Senior Class of Department of Sociology
Course NameContemporary Chinese Society
InstructorHU LI-CHUNG
Course TypeElective
Course Objective
Course Description
Course Schedule

Course schedule (* denotes required readings for undergraduate students; graduate students are expected to read all the assigned materials)

Week 19/13Moon Festival (No class)

Week 29/20Post-Mao era

Documentary: China: A Century of Revolution 1976-1994

*Nee, V. (1989). A theory of market transition: From redistribution to markets in state socialism. American Sociological Review, 663-681.

Week 39/27Poverty and Inequality (1)

*Xie, Y., & Zhou, X. (2014). Income inequality in today’s China. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 111(19), 6928-6933.

Student presentation

Nee, V. (1991). Social inequalities in reforming state socialism: between redistribution and markets in China. American Sociological Review, 267-282.

Novokmet, F., Piketty, T., Yang, L., & Zucman, G. (2018, May). From communism to capitalism: Private versus public property and inequality in China and Russia. In AEA Papers and Proceedings (Vol. 108, pp. 109-13).

Wan, G. (2007). Understanding regional poverty and inequality trends in China: methodological issues and empirical findings. Review of Income and Wealth, 53(1), 25-34.

Week 410/04Poverty and Inequality (2)

China’s parliament has about 100 billionaires, according to data from the Hurun Report

*Dickson, B. J. (2003). Red capitalists in China: The party, private entrepreneurs, and prospects for political change. Cambridge University Press. Introduction.

Willy Lam, “The Rise of the Red Capitalists.” The New York Times, October 26, 2007.


Student presentation

Barton, D., Chen, Y., & Jin, A. (2013). Mapping China’s middle class. McKinsey Quarterly, 3, 54-60.

Hannum, E., & Zhang, Y. (2012). Poverty and proximate barriers to learning: vision deficiencies, vision correction and educational outcomes in rural Northwest China. World development, 40(9), 1921-1931.

Wu, X., & Xie, Y. (2003). Does the market pay off? Earnings returns to education in urban China. American Sociological Review, 425-442.

Week 510/11Double Tenth Day (No class)

Week 610/18Internal migration

Documentary: Last Train Home

*Chan, K. W. (2009). The Chinese hukou system at 50. Eurasian geography and economics, 50(2), 197-221.

Gaetano, A. M., & Jacka, T. (2004). On the move: Women and rural-to-urban migration in contemporary China. Columbia University Press. Introduction&ch1. (Electronic resource available in the library)

Student presentation

Keung Wong, D. F., Li, C. Y., & Song, H. X. (2007). Rural migrant workers in urban China: living a marginalised life. International Journal of Social Welfare, 16(1), 32-40.

Xu, H., & Xie, Y. (2015). The causal effects of rural-to-urban migration on children’s well-being in China. European sociological review, 31(4), 502-519.


Week 710/25International migration

Documentary: China’s Millionaire Migration (

*Orrenius, P., Zavodny, M., & Kerr, E. (2012). Chinese immigrants in the US labor market: Effects of post?Tiananmen immigration policy. International Migration Review, 46(2), 456-482.

Student presentation

Bodomo, A. (2010). The African trading community in Guangzhou: An emerging bridge for Africa–China relations. The China Quarterly, 203, 693-707.

Liu?Farrer, G. (2009). Educationally channeled international labor mobility: Contemporary student migration from China to Japan. International Migration Review, 43(1), 178-204.

Thunø, M., & Pieke, F. N. (2005). Institutionalizing recent rural emigration from China to Europe: New transnational villages in Fujian. International Migration Review, 39(2), 485-514.

Week 811/01Gender Issues (1)

*Ebenstein, A. (2010). The “missing girls” of China and the unintended consequences of the one child policy. Journal of Human Resources, 45(1), 87-115.

Student presentation

den Boer, A. M., & Hudson, V. M. (2004). The security threat of Asia's sex ratios. SAIS Review of International Affairs, 24(2), 27-43.

Fong, V. L. (2002). China's One?Child Policy and the Empowerment of Urban Daughters. American Anthropologist, 104(4), 1098-1109.

Hesketh, T., Zhou, X., & Wang, Y. (2015). The end of the one-child policy: lasting implications for China. Jama, 314(24), 2619-2620.

Trent, K., & South, S. J. (2011). Too many men? Sex ratios and women's partnering behavior in China. Social Forces, 90(1), 247-267.

Week 911/08Gender Issues (2)

*Hannum, E., Kong, P., & Zhang, Y. (2009). Family sources of educational gender inequality in rural China: A critical assessment. International journal of educational development, 29(5), 474-486.

Student presentation

Fincher, L. H. (2014). Leftover women: The resurgence of gender inequality in China. Zed Books. Introduction,

Sun, S., & Chen, F. (2015). Reprivatized womanhood: Changes in mainstream media's framing of urban women's issues in China, 1995–2012. Journal of Marriage and Family, 77(5), 1091-1107.

Yan, Y. (2009). The individualization of Chinese society (Vol. 77). Oxford: Berg. Introduction & chapter 6.

Zhang, Y., Hannum, E., & Wang, M. (2008). Gender-based employment and income differences in urban China: Considering the contributions of marriage and parenthood. Social Forces, 86(4), 1529-1560.

Week 1011/15Proposal presentations and discussion (1)

Week 1111/22Proposal presentations and discussion (2)

Week 1211/29Education

Documentary: Two Million Minutes

*Hannum, E., Behrman, J., Wang, M., & Liu, J. (2008). Education in the reform era. China’s great economic transformation, 215-49.

Wan, Y. (2006). Expansion of Chinese higher education since 1998: Its causes and outcomes. Asia Pacific Education Review, 7(1), 19-32.

Student presentation

Mo, D., Yi, H., Zhang, L., Shi, Y., Rozelle, S., & Medina, A. (2012). Transfer paths and academic performance: The primary school merger program in China. International Journal of Educational Development, 32(3), 423-431.

Tam, T., & Jiang, J. (2015). Divergent urban-rural trends in college attendance: State policy bias and structural exclusion in China. Sociology of Education, 88(2), 160-180.

Young, N. A., & Hannum, E. C. (2018). Childhood Inequality in China: Evidence from Recent Survey Data (2012–2014). The China Quarterly, 236, 1063-1087

Week 1312/06Health

Documentary: China’s Health Care Crisis, New York Times


*Gong, P., Liang, S., Carlton, E. J., Jiang, Q., Wu, J., Wang, L., & Remais, J. V. (2012). Urbanisation and health in China. The Lancet, 379(9818), 843-852.

Xiang, Y. T., Yu, X., Sartorius, N., Ungvari, G. S., & Chiu, H. F. (2012). Mental health in China: challenges and progress. The Lancet, 380(9855), 1715.

Student presentation

Charlson, F. J., Baxter, A. J., Cheng, H. G., Shidhaye, R., & Whiteford, H. A. (2016). The burden of mental, neurological, and substance use disorders in China and India: a systematic analysis of community representative epidemiological studies. The Lancet, 388(10042), 376-389.

Li, Y., Xu, J., Wang, F., Wang, B., Liu, L., Hou, W., ... & Lu, Z. (2012). Overprescribing in China, driven by financial incentives, results in very high use of antibiotics, injections, and corticosteroids. Health affairs, 31(5), 1075-1082.

Hsieh, N. (2015). Economic Security, Social Cohesion, and Depression Disparities in Post-transition Societies: A Comparison of Older Adults in China and Russia. Journal of health and social behavior, 56(4), 534-551.

Qin, X., Li, L., & Hsieh, C. R. (2013). Too few doctors or too low wages? Labor supply of health care professionals in China. China Economic Review, 24, 150-164.

Sun, Q., Santoro, M. A., Meng, Q., Liu, C., & Eggleston, K. (2008). Pharmaceutical policy in China. Health Affairs, 27(4), 1042-1050.

Week 1412/13 Social movements

*Yang, D. L. (2006). Economic transformation and its political discontents in China: authoritarianism, unequal growth, and the dilemmas of political development. Annu. Rev. Polit. Sci., 9, 143-164.

Student presentation

Deng, Y., & Yang, G. (2013). Pollution and protest in China: Environmental mobilization in context. The China Quarterly, 214, 321-336.

Zeng, J. (2014). The Politics of Emotion in Grassroots Feminist Protests: A Case Study of Xiaoming Ai's Nude Breasts Photography Protest Online. Georgetown Journal of International Affairs, 41-52.

Zhao, D. (2000). State-society relations and the discourses and activities of the 1989 Beijing student movement. American Journal of Sociology, 105(6), 1592-1632.

Week 1512/20Political regimes and governance

*Lee, C. K., & Zhang, Y. (2013). The power of instability: unraveling the microfoundations of bargained authoritarianism in China. American Journal of Sociology, 118(6), 1475-1508.

Student presentation

Cai, Y. (2008). Power structure and regime resilience: contentious politics in China. British Journal of Political Science, 38(3), 411-432.

Landry, P. F., Lü, X., & Duan, H. (2018). Does performance matter? Evaluating political selection along the Chinese administrative ladder. Comparative Political Studies, 51(8), 1074-1105.

MacKinnon, R. (2011). China's" networked authoritarianism". Journal of Democracy, 22(2), 32-46.

Nathan, A. J. (2003). Authoritarian resilience. Journal of Democracy, 14(1), 6-17.

Stockmann, D., & Gallagher, M. E. (2011). Remote control: How the media sustain authoritarian rule in China. Comparative Political Studies, 44(4), 436-467.

Week 1612/27Student presentation (1)

Week 171/03Student presentation (2)

Teaching Methods
Teaching Assistant


Oral presentation (15% each, 30% total): Two oral presentations on selected papers are required for every student. Presenters need to prepare for a 20 minute oral presentation using Powerpoints. The Powerpoint file should be sent to me before Thursday at 13:00 PM.

Final paper proposal presentation (15%): Each graduate student/group of undergraduate students is expected to prepare a 10 minute final paper proposal presentation. The purpose of this presentation is to help students develop their final paper project thorough brainstorming with classmates. Students should send a 2-page proposal to all students before November 7th. Students are also expected to prepare comments and suggestions for discussion.

Final paper (40%): Each graduate student/group of undergraduate students is expected to write an empirical paper with original data analysis, either quantitative or qualitative. An intensive literature review paper on a topic for later investigation is also accepted. A copy of the paper should be submitted on the course website by January 14th. For presentation, please prepare for a 20 minute presentation with slides.

Class participation (15%): Regular class attendance, reading assigned materials before class and active participation in class are necessary.

Textbook & Reference
Urls about Course