1 x 2-hour seminar weekly
Enrolment not permitted
1 of ASST2009, DVST2003, INTR3041, POLI2003, POLI3041 has been successfully completed
Topic description

China is rising rapidly from relative isolation in international relations to great power status. A fundamental question is what happens to a regional order based on the primacy of one great power when that primacy is challenged by a rising power? The Topic looks at the debates in the foreign policy literature over how best to answer this question. It explores the diplomatic, economic and military policies that define China's rise under President Xi's leadership, as well as the challenges. These include managing environmental degradation, how to run a market economy with an authoritarian one-party state, an ageing population, growing social inequality, endemic corruption and how to control social media. The topic concludes with an assessment of the challenges posed by China's rise to Australia's foreign and defence policies.

Educational aims

The topic aims to:

  • Introduce the role played by China in key international institutions and groupings such as the G-20
  • Explain the key concepts in Chinese foreign policy
  • Examine the major debates in international relations over the implications of China's rise
  • Identify the challenges posed by rapid social change and growth in markets
  • Provide insights into the political, economic and security challenges for Australian foreign policy makers arising from China's rise
Expected learning outcomes
On completion of this topic you will be expected to be able to:

  1. Assess debates about how the international community should engage China
  2. Analyse trends in Chinese foreign policy
  3. Distinguish between different academic perspectives on whether China's rise is peaceful or will result in conflict
  4. Describe the economic, diplomatic and military dimensions of China's rise
  5. Understand China's social and economic challenges which may delay its rise to great power status

Key dates and timetable

(1), (2)

Each class is numbered in brackets.
Where more than one class is offered, students normally attend only one.

Classes are held weekly unless otherwise indicated.


If you are enrolled for this topic, but all classes for one of the activities (eg tutorials) are full,
contact your College Office for assistance. Full classes frequently occur near the start of semester.

Students may still enrol in topics with full classes as more places will be made available as needed.

If this padlock appears next to an activity name (eg Lecture), then class registration is closed for this activity.

Class registration normally closes at the end of week 2 of each semester.

Classes in a stream are grouped so that the same students attend all classes in that stream.
Registration in the stream will result in registration in all classes.
  Unless otherwise advised, classes are not held during semester breaks or on public holidays.