The Chinese University of Hong Kong Department of History Department of History
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HIST4910RH The Post-Mao Era: Society, Culture, and Politics (1976-Present)

Semester 2 (2019-2020)

Lecture TimeWednesday 2:30pm-4:15pm

VenueLSK 208

LanguageCantonese /

Lecturer HE Xiaoqing Rowena ((852) 3943 7128)

Teaching Assistant LAO Ching Yin

Course Description



This course is an intellectual inquiry into Chinese society, culture, and politics during the post-Mao period (1976-Present). It focuses on the sources and consequences of major transformation occurred in the China, socially, politically, and culturally. Topics include the relationship between intellectuals and the state, dynamics of social movements, civic education and youth values, media and social media, social activism and social change, the emergence and roles of civic associations, identity construction, and popular culture. In addition to examining the country as a whole, it also considers the particular circumstances of Tibet, Xinjiang, Hong Kong, and of Taiwan.



This course aims to help students to develop skills to think, write, and speak critically and analytically about the past. We will work together as historians to evaluate historical evidence in primary and secondary sources, to think within historical contexts, to recognize the historical forces at work, to identify continuities and changes, and to understand the ethical dimension of historical interpretations as world citizens.



Readings will include journal articles, scholarly books, and news reports on current affairs. In addition to reading required texts, we will watch selected films and documentaries relevant to the period we study. These visual materials aim to facilitate students’ understanding of history through human experience, and to eventually cultivate students’personal moral engagement as well as historical consciousness and intellectual understanding of the world. After all, the history that we are exploring is not just about dates, names, and numbers, but timeless questions such as values and choices, conflict and love, loyalty and betrayal.



This is a student-centered class. Students are expected to be actively engaged in class and to work with other students. Class activities include group discussions, reading and news presentations, lectures, and documentary screenings, and reenactment of historical scenes. I will keep my nine-year tradition of having class lunches/dinners with students who are interested in joining.

We will work together to create an environment for intellectual dialogues and to cultivate informed, responsible, and engaged citizens. Being empathetic and inclusive does not mean that we stay away from core issues; it does not absolve us from our responsibility to engage in critical thinking and honest intellectual debates. I also recognize that we human beings have our own individual differences and preferences in learning styles and strategies. I will keep that in mind and will work with each of you to bring the best out of your potential and talent.

Assessment & Assignments


Final Project: 60%

Tutorial: 30%

Class Performance: 10%



A detailed list of weekly materials will be provided later

  • Richard Baum, Burying Mao: Chinese Politics in the Age of Deng
  • Joseph Fewsmith, Dilemmas of Reform in China: Political Conflict and Economic Debate
  • Alexander V. Pantsov and Steven I. Levine, Deng Xiaoping: A Revolutionary Life
  • Geremie Barme, In the Red: On Contemporary Chinese Cultural (Columbia University Press, 1999)
  • Philip, Pan. Out of Mao’s Shadow: The Struggle for the Soul of a New China.
  • Bao Pu, Renee Chiang & Adi Ignatius (eds.) (2009). Prisoner of the State: The secret journal of Premier Zhao Ziyang (NY: Simon & Schuster).
  • Calhoun, C. J. (1994). Neither gods nor emperors: Students and the struggle for democracy in China. Berkeley: University of California Press.
  • Duke, Michael (1990). The Iron House: A memoir of the Chinese democracy movement and the Tiananmen Massacre (Layton, UT; Gibbs Smith).
  • James Watson. “The renegotiation of Chinese cultural identity in the post-Mao era,” in Kenneth Lieberthal, et al., eds., Perspectives on modern China: Four anniversaries (Armonk, NY: M. E. Sharpe, 1991), pp. 364-386.
  • P. Link. Evening chats in Beijing: Probing China’s predicament. New York: W.W. Norton & Company, 1992)
  • Liu, Binyan. “A Second Kind of Loyalty,” in P. Link, ed., Two kinds of truth: Stories and reportage from China, trans. Richard W. Bodman (Indiana University Press, 2006.)
  • Su Xiaokang and Wang Luxiang. “River Elegy, a television documentary,” in Suzanne Ogden et al. eds., China’s search for democracy (Armonk, NY: M.E. Sharpe, 1992), pp. 37-44.
  • Vera Schwarcz. “Memory and commemoration: The Chinese search for a livable past,” in Jeffrey N. Wasserstrom and Elizabeth J. Perry, eds., Popular protest and political culture in modern China, rev. ed. (Boulder: Westview, 1993), pp. 170-183.
  • M. Goldman. From comrade to citizen: The struggle for political rights in China (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2005).
  • He, Rowena. Tiananmen Exiles: Voices of the Struggle for Democracy in China. (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2014) 
  • C.J. Calhoun. Neither gods nor emperors: Students and the struggle for democracy in China (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1994).
  • Craig Calhoun. “Science, democracy, and the politics of identity,” in Wasserstrom and Perry, eds., Popular protest and political culture in modern China: Learning from 1989, pp. 93-124.
  • Kathleen Hartford, “The political economy behind Beijing spring,” in Tony Saich, ed., The Chinese people’s movement (Armonk, NY: M.E. Sharpe, 1990), pp. 50-82.
  • Andrew Walder. “The political sociology of the Beijing upheaval of 1989,” Problems of Communism, vol. 38, no. 5 (Sept.-Oct. 1989), pp. 30-40.
  • Thomas B. Gold. “Guerrilla interviewing among the Getihu, in Perry Link et al., eds., Unofficial China: Popular culture and thought in the People’s Republic (Boulder: Westview, 1989), pp. 175-192.
  • Stanley Rosen. “The impact of reform policies on youth attitudes,” in Davis and Vogel, eds., Chinese society on the eve of Tiananmen (Cambridge, MA: Council on East Asian Studies, 1990), pp. 283-305.
  • Tony Saich. “The reform decade in China: The limits to revolution from above,” in Marta Dassù and Tony Saich, eds., The reform decade in China: From hope to dismay (London: Kegan Paul, 1992), pp. 10-38.
  • G.B. Yang. “Emotional events and the transformation of collective action: The Chinese student movement,” in Helen Flam and Debra King, eds., Emotions and social movements (Routledge, 2005), pp.79-98.
  • Hicks G. Ed., The broken mirror: China after Tiananmen. Essex: Longman Current Affairs.
  • Judy Polumbaum. “Chinese journalism since the tragedy of Tiananmen,” in William A. Joseph, ed., China Briefing, 1991 (Boulder, CO: Westview, 1992), pp. 57-76.
  • Seth Faison. “The changing role of the Chinese media,” in Saich, ed., The Chinese people’s movement, pp. 145-163.
  • D. Curran and S. Cook. “Research in post-Tiananmen China,” in C. Renzetti and R.M. Lee, eds., Researching sensitive topics (Newbury Park, California: Sage Publications, 1993), pp. 71-81.
  • Perry Link. “The silence of China’s intellectuals,” May 2001. Project Syndicate: An Association of Newspapers around the World. Retrieved July 30, 2008, at
  • R. Foot. Rights beyond borders: The global community and the struggle over human rights in China (Oxford University Press, 2000), pp. 113-150 (“Tiananmen and its aftermath, June 1989 – November 1991).
  • M.X. Chen. “Together and Apart: My Life with Liu Xianbin-Dedicated to the Wives of all Dissidents.” Translated by Human Rights in China.
  • S. Zhao. “A state-led nationalism: The patriotic education campaign in post-Tiananmen China,” Communist and Post-Communist Studies, 31 (1998), pp. 287-302.
  • Vickers, E. “The Opportunity of China? Education, Patriotic Values and the Chinese State,” in Education as a Political Tool in Asia, Eds. Marie Lall & Edward Vickers (London: Routledge, 2009), pp.53-82.
  • Liu, X.B. “The Roots of Chinese ‘Patriotism’ at the Dawn of the Twenty-First Century,” in No Enemies, No Hatred: Selected Essays and Poems, Eds. Link, Liao, & Liu (Harvard University Press, 2012), pp. 62-84.
  • Gregory P. Fairbrother. “Patriotic Education in a Chinese Middle School,” in W.O. Lee, et al., eds., Citizenship education in Asia and the Pacific: Concepts and issues (Hong Kong: Kluwer Academic Publishers, 2004), pp. 157-174.
  • P. Gries. China’s new nationalism (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2004).
  • C.R. Hughes. Chinese nationalism in the global era (New York: Routledge, 2006).
  • R. Hayhoe. “Political texts in Chinese universities before and after Tiananmen,” Pacific Affairs, 66(1) (1993), pp. 21- 43.
  • W.O. Lee. “Changing ideopolitical emphases in moral education in China: An analysis of the CCP Central Committee documents,” Asia Pacific Journal of Education, 16(1996), pp. 106-121.
  • S. Rosen (in press). Seeking to understand the contradictions in the attitudes and behavior of contemporary Chinese youth.
  • George Hicks, ed. (1990). The Broken Mirror: China after Tiananmen. Essex: Longman Current Affairs.
  • Schell, Orville (1994).  Mandate of Heaven: The Legacy of Tiananmen Square and the Next Generation of China’s Leaders. New York: Simon & Schuster.
Honesty in Academic Work

Attention is drawn to University policy and regulations on honesty in academic work, and to the disciplinary guidelines and procedures applicable to breaches of such policy and regulations. Details may be found at

With each assignment, students will be required to submit a signed declaration that they are aware of these policies, regulations, guidelines and procedures.

  • In the case of group projects, all members of the group should be asked to sign the declaration, each of whom is responsible and liable to disciplinary actions, irrespective of whether he/she has signed the declaration and whether he/she has contributed, directly or indirectly, to the problematic contents.
  • For assignments in the form of a computer-generated document that is principally text-based and submitted via VeriGuide, the statement, in the form of a receipt, will be issued by the system upon students’ uploading of the soft copy of the assignment.

Assignments without the properly signed declaration will not be graded by teachers.

Only the final version of the assignment should be submitted via VeriGuide.

The submission of a piece of work, or a part of a piece of work, for more than one purpose (e.g. to satisfy the requirements in two different courses) without declaration to this effect shall be regarded as having committed undeclared multiple submissions. It is common and acceptable to reuse a turn of phrase or a sentence or two from one’s own work; but wholesale reuse is problematic. In any case, agreement from the course teacher(s) concerned should be obtained prior to the submission of the piece of work.

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