Class Meetings: Monday & Wednesday 2:00 – 3:15

Classroom: Dusable Room 452

Instructor: Han, Hee-jin

Office and Hour: Zulauf 408, Tues, 2-3 or by appointment      




POLS 372: Politics of China, Japan and Korea





This course is designed to provide students with better understandings of politics of three different countries in Northeast Asia: the People’s Republic of China (China), Japan and the Republic of Korea (Korea). It also aims to develop students’ analytical skills to get a deeper grasp of each country’s past and present. Each country has had unique historical paths and the first several class hours will be devoted to discussion of such different historical paths, focusing on crucial events that have shaped each country’s political, social and economic life. Then students learn and discuss the following elements of each country’s government and politics: political institutions, political culture, political economy and sources of domestic conflict. In the course, students are expected to be able to distinguish the differences as well as similarities between these three countries’ political systems.    


Course Policies and Requirements


1. Readings


The textbook is available at the bookstore. There is not title of the book since it is a course pack specially created for this POLS 372. The title of the course and the instructor’s name is on the book cover. There will be extra assigned readings and you can download articles or book chapters from the course’s online reserve address that will be given to students on the first day of the semester.


Students are required to read the textbook and assigned works before arriving in class so that they can contribute to class discussion, participate in active learning and better understand the lectures.    


2. Videos

If time and scheduling permit, I will show some videos on course-related topics. They are not “blow-off” classes; indeed, some exam questions will be based on audiovisual materials. Instructor might give students short opinion paper (1-2page) assignment.   


3. Attendance and Participation (15% of the course grade) 

Attendance in this class is mandatory. After four absences without prior notice, a half letter grade will be deducted from your course grade each day you miss the class.  Therefore, good attendance is very crucial. Walkout from the classroom before the class is dismissed will be considered as absence.


In general, relevant in-class participation will be evaluated according to the following scale.


A= regular and thoughtful participation

B= occasional and thoughtful participation

C= regular attendance, but little or no participation

D= less than regular attendance

F= little or no attendance


When you have questions, it means your classmates might have similar questions too, so don’t be afraid of raising your hands and ask questions.


4. In Class Exams (50 % of the course grade -mid-term 25 % and final 25 %)

There will be two in class exams in this course, and the final exam is not cumulative and will be based on the material from the second half of the course. Each exam is a combination of multiple choice, short definition and essay questions. In essay sections, you will have choices. No make-up exams will be given, except in cases of emergency, as defined by the instructor, and with written notification.


5. Term Paper (20 % of the course grade)

Students are supposed to write a college level, analytical paper on the politics of China, Japan and South Korea. This is maximum 7-8 page paper (word processed and double spaced), excluding the bibliography and citations. The paper should have proper citations and bibliography. For topics and ideas for the paper, students are encouraged to talk to the instructor beforehand. On March 2, a one-page topic proposal is due. The final draft of the paper is due on April 27. Since students will have had several weeks to complete their work, late papers will not be accepted. For general guidelines and advice to write a good paper, go to:


1)      You must use correct citations for your paper. Student may choose the specific style, but it must be an accepted and widely used one (APA, MLA, etc.).  Plagiarism is when you use someone else’s words or ideas without attributing the proper source. (Refer to undergraduate catalogue) Feel free to use someone else’s words, concepts, and arguments, but make sure that anything that you cite from the literature or anything that is not yours must be properly footnoted.

2)      It will be helpful to search the Internet for references. But your main sources of citation must be academic journals and books. Article First in the library database is the best place to start your search.  

3)      Your topic proposal should address the following questions: What is the paper topic? What is your research question? Why are you choosing this question? How should this question be addressed? What are the major sources for your research?

6. Journals (15% of the course grade)

Starting from January 24, each student is supposed to read two articles (per week) from sources as the New York Times, the Washington Post or any other newspapers from the three countries. Students should summarize and analyze each article in a paragraph (approximately 150-200 words). Journals will be collected twice during the semester on March 9 and May.  The first collection should only include articles on Chinese politics, society and economy. The second collection should include articles on Japan and Korea. Students can find various newspapers of each country at: Failure to submit the journal on the due date will result in reduction of half letter grade per day for this assignment. I expect students to keep their journal regularly, so students might be called upon at the beginning of the class to talk briefly about the articles that they have read. This expectation will keep the class updated with current events of the three countries.


Some of the representative newspapers of each country are as follows:


China: People’s Daily, Xinhua, Apple Daily, the South China Morning Post

Japan: Asahi, Yomiuri, Mainichi Daily

Korea: Korea Herald, Korea Times, Chosun Ilbo  


 7. Summary of Graded Requirements


Attendance and Participation       15 %

In Class Exams                             50 %

Research Paper                             20 %

Journal                                          15 %

Total                                            100 %


8. The Learning Environment

Your instructor is committed to the principle of active learning. This means that learning cannot take place without students’ active involvement in, commitment to, and responsibility for their own education. Hence, it is important that students conduct themselves in ways that indicate respect for the learning community and the learning process. During lecture segments, please raise your hand if you have a question. However, be less formal during class discussions, so long as we remember to treat one another with common courtesy. Respect for the learning community precludes such behavior as persistent tardiness (arriving after one third of the class period is over is considered as an absence), leaving the room during class time, falling asleep, reading newspaper, using cell phones or other electronic devices, talking in class and studying for another class. NIU policies regarding classroom conduct are discussed in the 2003-2004 Undergraduate Catalog.






9. Incompletes  

No incompletes will be extended for reasons other than a medical or personal emergency and then after presentation of verifiable documentation from a medical professionals or a university official. Academic hardship does not qualify as an acceptable excuse.

10. Extra Credit

Extra credit assignments will not be given on an individual basis to raise final course grade. Like makeup exams, such projects raise serious questions of equality. If such a project is made available, every member of the class will be given the opportunity to complete it.


11. Academic Integrity

Students are expected to know and comply with NIU policies on academic integrity (See undergraduate catalog). Any student found guilty of cheating or plagiarizing will receive an “F” for the course.


12. Statement Concerning Students with Disabilities

Under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, NIU is committed to making reasonable accommodations for persons with documented disabilities. Those students with disabilities that may have some impact on their coursework and for which they may require accommodations should notify the Center for Access-Ability Resources (CAAR) on the fourth floor of the Health Services Building. CAAR will assist students in making appropriate accommodations with course instructors. It is important that CAAR and instructors be informed of any disability-related needs during the first two weeks of the semester.


13. Department of Political Science Web Site

Undergraduates are strongly encouraged to consult the Department of Political Science web site on a regular basis. This up-to-date, central source of information will assist students in contacting faculty and staff, reviewing course requirements and syllabi, exploring graduate study, researching career options, tracking department events, and accessing important details related to undergraduate programs and activities. To reach the site, go to


14. Undergraduate Writing Awards  

The Department of Political Science will recognize, on an annual basis, outstanding undergraduate papers written in conjunction with 300-400 level political science courses or directed studies. Authors do not have to be political science majors or have a particular class standing. Winners are expected to attend the Department’s spring graduation ceremony where they will receive a certificate and $50.00. Papers, which can be submitted by students or faculty, must be supplied in triplicate to a department secretary by February 28. All copies should have two cover pages – one with the student’s name and one without the student’s name. Only papers written in the previous calendar year can be considered for the award. However, papers completed in the current spring semester are eligible for the following year’s competition even if the student has graduated.



Course Schedule and Reading Assignments


Jan 19th

Course introduction

Purchase the textbook


Government and Politics of China




Readings (TB: Textbook)


History of China

TB p 4-24



History of China

TB p 24-29



History of China

Lucian Pye, 1999, “An Overview of 50 Years of the People’s Republic of China: Some Progress, but Big Problems Remain,” The China Quarterly, no. 159, September, pp. 569-579



“China After Mao” and Discussion



Political Institutions

TB p 54-58



Political Institutions

Ch 4(Political Institutions of the Party-State) in James C.F Wang, 2002, Contemporary Chinese Politics, 7th edition, Prentice Hall, pp. 69-103


Political Culture

TB p 29-38



Bases of Conflict

TB p 38-54


Yardley, Jim, “Farmers Being Moved Aside by China’s Real Estate Boom” New York Times, Dec 8, 2004 


Problems of Reform

Gilboy, George & Heginbotham, Eric, 2001, “China’s Coming Transformation” Foreign Affairs, Vol. 80, No. 4, pp. 26-39


Pei, Mingxin, 2002, “China’s Governance Crisis” Foreign Affairs, Vol. 81, No. 5, pp. 96-109



Ch. 10 (Democracy, Dissidents, and the Tiananmen Mass Movement) in James C.F. Wang book, pp. 269-299


Political Economy

TB p 58-71



Political Economy

One page paper outline due

Naughton, Barry, “The Pattern and Logic of China’s Economic Reform” in Orville Schell and David Shambaugh eds., The China Reader, 1999, N.Y. Vintage Books, pp. 299-311


Hale, David & Hale, Lyric Hughes, 2003 “China Takes Off” Foreign Affairs, Vol. 82, No. 6, pp. 36-53  


Li, Cheng, “200 Million Mouths Too Many: China’s Surplus Rural Labor” in Orville Schell and David Shambaugh eds., The China Reader, 1999, N.Y. Vintage Books, pp. 362-373


Minority, Environment and Human Rights  

Chung, Chien-peng, 2002, “China’s War on Terror” Foreign Affairs, Vol. 81, No. 4, pp. 8-12


Hertgaard, Mark, “Our Real China Problem” in Orville Schell and David Shambaugh eds., The China Reader, 1999, N.Y. Vintage Books, pp. 376-389


The World Bank, “China’s Environment in the New Century” in Orville Schell and David Shambaugh eds., The China Reader, 1999, N.Y. Vintage Books, pp. 389-394


Nathan, Andrew et. al. in Orville Schell and David Shambaugh eds., The China Reader, 1999, N.Y. Vintage Books, pp. 406-422  


Mar 9th

In Class Mid-Term Exam

First Collection of Articles (13 entries)


Mar 14th - Mar 16th

Spring Break


Government and Politics of Japan






History of Japan

TB p 76-83



History of Japan

TB p 83-87




“Meiji Restoration” & Discussion



Political Institutions and Process

TB p 110-121


Ch. 5 (Governing Structures) in Duncan McCargo, 2000, Contemporary Japan, St. Martin’s Press, New York, pp. 79-96


Political Organizations

TB p 92-110


Ch. 6 in McCargo book, pp. 98-126


Political Culture, Bases of Conflict

TB p 87-91


Matthews, Eugene, 2003, “Japan’s New Nationalism” Foreign Affairs, Vol. 82, No. 6, pp. 74-90


Political Economy

TB p 121-134


Schoppa, Leonard, 2001, “Japan, Reluctant Reformer” Foreign Affairs, Vol. 80,No. 5, pp. 76-90


Overholt, William, 2002, “Japan’s Economy, at War with Itself” Foreign Affairs, Vol. 81, No. 1, pp. 134-147


Government and Politics of Korea






History of Korea

TB p 140-155



History of Korea

TB p 140-155




“Fight for Democracy” and Discussion



Political Institutions &  Organizations

TB p 174-185

TB p 163-174



Political Culture & Bases of Conflict

Term Paper Due

TB p 155-163  



Political Economy

TB p 185-200



May 4th

Review Session for the Final (Bring your notebook and questions if any)

Second Collection of Articles Due (14 entries)    


May 9th 2:00-3:50 PM

 In Class Final Exam