Spring 2007

Wednesdays 3:30 - 4:45 pm

DuSable 252


Dr. Y.K. Wang

Office: Zulauf 416

Office Hours: M & W 10:30-12:00, and by appointment

Tel: 753-7058

E-mail: ykwang@niu.edu



Course Description:


This is an introductory course to the foreign relations of the People’s Republic of China since its founding in 1949. China is a rising power with the potential to influence the future direction of world politics. For many nations, including the Untied States, managing relations with China has become one of the most important foreign policy challenges. How do we better understand China’s behavior in the world?


In this course, we will examine major events involving Chinese foreign policy and analyze competing explanations. The course explores multiple accounts of events and challenges students to think critically and come up with the most compelling explanation. By doing so, the course encourages students to apply the theoretical approaches of international relations to the study of foreign policy. Topics include the Sino-Soviet alliance, the Korean War, rapprochement with the United States, relations with China’s neighbors in Asia and beyond, the issue of sovereignty and international peacekeeping, and whether China can rise peacefully.


Course Objectives:


Upon completion of the course, students should be able to:

a)     explain what motivates China’s foreign policy behavior;

b)     describe the major issues and events involving China; and

c)     analyze the implications of China’s rise for the world.


Required Texts:


Two books are required for this course:


Chen, Jian. Mao's China and the Cold War. Chapel Hill, NC.: The University of North Carolina Press, 2001.


Nathan, Andrew J., and Robert S. Ross. The Great Wall and the Empty Fortress: China's Search for Security. New York: W.W. Norton, 1997.


These books should be available for purchase at the NIU Bookstore. They will also be put on 2-hour reserve at Founders Memorial Library. Other required articles or book chapters can be found on the course’s Blackboard website.




Class Participation                              15%

Four Reading Quizzes                 15%

Research Paper Assignment        20%   

Midterm Exam                           20%

Final Exam                                30%


Class participation, including both attendance and classroom discussion, constitutes 15% of your final grade. Attendance is mandatory. You will not do well if you regularly miss class.  Students who are found to have missed five class sessions or more will receive “zero” for their participation grade. In addition to attendance, I encourage you to participate in discussion and will add points to your participation grade if you actively contribute to discussion.


You must have completed all the readings before each class. I have tried to select readings that are easy to understand, but it is your responsibility to obtain and read them. To encourage this process, there will be five unannounced reading quizzes throughout the semester. However, your lowest score will be dropped, so only the four best quizzes will count toward the 15% of your final grade. These quizzes are short and straightforward, designed to test your understanding of the assigned readings. You should find them easy if you have done the readings. Make-up quizzes will not be allowed. If you miss one quiz, make sure you take the other four.


The research paper assignment constitutes 20% of your final grade. You will choose from a list of questions to be handed out in class. Your paper should have a central argument and must use citations. Citation format is open as long as it is consistent. The paper should be 5-7 pages in length, double-spaced, and use size-12 font. The assignment is due at the beginning of class on April 16. Ten percent of the paper grade will be deducted for each day the paper is late.


The midterm exam will be held in class on March 7 and constitutes 20% of your final grade. The final exam will be held in class on May 7 and constitutes 30% of your final grade. The final will not be cumulative and will instead cover only the materials after the midterm. The exam will consist of identification questions and short essays. Prior to each exam, I will hand out study guides that help you prepare for it.


Your total points will be averaged and converted to letter grades according to the following grading scale:


90% to 100% = A

80% to 89%    = B

70% to 79%    = C

60% to 69%    = D

0%   to 59%   = F


Course Policies:


1.     Make-up Exams: A make-up exam will only be given in extraordinary circumstances. You must inform me as soon as possible before the scheduled exam. Requests without prior notification and documented evidence will not be accepted and will result in a zero grade for the exam.

2.     Classroom Etiquette: Please be courteous and respectful of others while in class. For example, attend class on time; turn off cell phones, pagers, or anything that makes noises; do not leave class early; etc.

3.     Extra Credit: Extra credit assignments will not be given on an individual basis; maintaining equity for everyone is crucial.

4.     Academic Misconduct: Academic dishonesty will not be tolerated. The NIU Undergraduate Catalog states: “students are guilty of plagiarism, intentional or not, if they copy material from books, magazines, or other sources without identifying and acknowledging them. Students guilty of, or assisting others in, either cheating or plagiarism on an assignment, quiz, or examination may receive a grade of F for the course involved and may be suspended or dismissed from the university.” Additionally, do not submit a paper written for another course, or vice versa. Write a different paper for every class you take. “Double-dipping” is strictly prohibited and will result in a zero for your paper grade. If you have questions, consult with the instructor before submitting your paper




Most of the communication for this course will be conducted through the university’s Blackboard Course Server. This course website can be accessed only by students enrolled in this course. The URL for Blackboard is http://webcourses.niu.edu. Login to Blackboard with your student Z-ID and password. For login questions go to http://www.helpdesk.niu.edu/ and click on “Blackboard” or contact ITS at 753-8100. The system uses your NIU student webmail account.  If you wish to receive course-related e-mails at another address, you need to forward mail from your NIU account to another account. Learn how to do this on the ITS helpdesk home page (http://www.its.niu.edu/its/helpdesk/webmail_students.shtml). 


Department Announcements:


Statement Concerning Students with Disabilities: NIU abides by Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 which mandates reasonable accommodations be provided for qualified students with disabilities. If you have a disability and may require some type of instructional or examination accommodation, please contact me early in the semester so that I can provide or facilitate in providing accommodations you may need. If you have not already done so, you will need to register with the Center for Access-Ability Resources (CAAR), the designated office on campus to provide services and administer exams with accommodations for students with disabilities. The CAAR office is located on the 4th floor of the University Health Services building (815-753-1303). I look forward to talking with you soon to learn how I may be helpful in enhancing your academic success in this course.


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 March 1. 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.


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 http://polisci.niu.edu.





(Any changes will be announced in class or on Blackboard)



Week 1


January 17   Course Overview


Week 2


January 22   Legacies of History and Geography



January 24   The Chinese Civil War and the Cold War in Asia


  • Chen, Mao's China and the Cold War, pp. 17-37.


Week 3


January 29   The Rise of the Sino-Soviet Alliance


  • Chen, Mao's China and the Cold War, pp. 38-53.


January 31   The Korean War


  • Chen, Mao's China and the Cold War, pp. 54-64, 85-117.


Week 4


February 5    The Sino-Soviet Split


  • Chen, Mao's China and the Cold War, pp. 64-84.
  • Nathan & Ross, The Great Wall and the Empty Fortress, pp. 35-46.


February 7    The Two Taiwan Strait Crises


  • Chen, Mao's China and the Cold War, pp. 163-204.


Week 5


February 12 China and the Vietnam War


  • Chen, Mao's China and the Cold War, pp. 205-237.


February 14  The Strategic Triangle and Sino-American Normalization


  • Chen, Mao's China and the Cold War, pp. 238-276.
  • Nathan & Ross, The Great Wall and the Empty Fortress, pp. 56-69.


Week 6


February 19  Foreign Policy Decision-Making


  • Nathan & Ross, The Great Wall and the Empty Fortress, pp. 123-144.


February 21  China and Its Neighbors to the South


  • Nathan & Ross, The Great Wall and the Empty Fortress, pp. 100-122.


Week 7


February 26  Foreign Economic Relations in the Era of Reform


  • Nathan & Ross, The Great Wall and the Empty Fortress, pp. 158-177.


February 28 ISA Conference (No Class)


Week 8


March 5        Catch Up and Review


March 7        Midterm Exam (3:30-4:45pm)


Week 9        Spring Break (No Class)


Week 10


March 19      Tiananmen and Human Rights


  • Nathan & Ross, The Great Wall and the Empty Fortress, pp. 178-192.
  • James Seymour, "Human Rights in China's Foreign Relations" in Samuel Kim ed., China and the World: Chinese Foreign Relations in the Post-Cold War Era, 3rd ed. (Boulder: Westview Press, 1994), pp. 202-225. (e-reserve)


March 21      Territorial Integrity


  • Nathan & Ross, The Great Wall and the Empty Fortress, pp. 193-211.


Week 11


March 26      Regional Engagement and “Charm Offensive”


  • David Shambaugh, "China Engages Asia: Reshaping the Regional Order," International Security 29, no. 3 (Winter 2004/05), pp. 64-99.
  • Evan S. Medeiros and M. Taylor Fravel, "China's New Diplomacy," Foreign Affairs 82, no. 6 (November/December 2003), pp. 22-35.


March 28      China and the United States (I)


  • Denny Roy, "China's Reaction to American Predominance," Survival 45, no. 3 (Autumn 2003), pp. 57-78.
  • Robert B. Zoellick, “Whither China: From Membership to Responsibility?”  Remarks to National Committee on U.S.-China Relations, September 21, 2005. http://www.state.gov/s/d/former/zoellick/rem/53682.htm


Week 12


April 2          China and the United States (II)


  • Thomas J. Christensen, "Fostering Stability of Creating a Monster? The Rise of China and U.S. Policy toward East Asia," International Security 31, no. 1 (Summer 2006), pp. 81-126


April 4          China and Japan


  • Michael Jonathan Green, “Managing Chinese Power: The View From Japan,” in Alastair Iain Johnston and Robert S. Ross, Engaging China: The Management of an Emerging Power, pp. 152-175. (e-reserve)
  • Wu Xinbo, "The End of the Silver Lining: A Chinese View of the U.S.-Japanese Alliance," The Washington Quarterly 29, no. 1 (Winter 2005/06), pp. 119-130.


Week 13


April 9          China and North Korea


  • David Shambaugh, China and the Korean Peninsula: Playing for the Long Term,The Washington Quarterly 26, no. 2 (Spring 2003), pp. 43-56.
  • Shen Dingli, "North Korea’s Strategic Significance to China," China Security (Autumn 2006), pp. 19-34. Available at http://www.wsichina.org/cs4_2.pdf


April 11        The Taiwan Strait


  • Nathan & Ross, The Great Wall and the Empty Fortress, pp. 212-225.
  • Robert S. Ross, "The 1995-1996 Taiwan Strait Confrontation: Coercion, Credibility and the Use of Force," International Security 25, no. 2 (Fall 2000), pp. 87-123.


Week 14


April 16        China and Southeast Asia


Research Paper Assignment Due


  • Ho Khai Leong, "Rituals, Risks and Rivalries: China and ASEAN in the Coming Decades," Journal of Contemporary China 10, no. 29 (2001), pp. 683-694.
  • Alice D. Ba, "China and Asean: Renavigating Relations for a 21st-Century Asia," Asian Survey 43, no. 4 (August 2003), pp. 622-647.


April 18        China and Africa


  • Chris Alden, "China in Africa," Survival 47, no. 3 (Autumn 2005), pp. 147-164.


Week 15


April 23        Energy Security


  • David Zweig and Bi Jianhai. "China's Global Hunt for Energy," Foreign Affairs 84, no. 5 (September/October 2005), pp. 25-38.
  • Erica S. Downs, The Chinese Energy Security Debate,China Quarterly 177 (March 2004), pp. 21-41.


April 25        Sovereignty and International Peacekeeping


  • Allen Carlson, “Helping to Keep the Peace (Albeit Reluctantly): China’s Recent Stance on Sovereignty and Multilateral Intervention,” Pacific Affairs 77, no. 1 (Spring 2004), pp. 1-27


Week 16


April 30        China’s Challenge to the World


  • Zheng Bijian, "China's 'Peaceful Rise' to Great-Power Status," Foreign Affairs 84, no. 5 (October 2005), pp. 18-24.
  • Zbigniew Brzezinski and John J. Mearsheimer, “Debate: Clash of the Titans,” Foreign Policy, no. 146 (Jan/Feb 2005), pp. 46-50.


May 2           Conclude and Review


Week 17


May 7           Final Exam (4:00-5:50pm)