China’s Foreign Policy


Shanghai Skyline

Spring 2024, spring 2025

Application period: 1.11.-20.11.2023

Time: 11.3.-19.5.2024
Language: English
Organizer: Center for East Asian Studies, University of Turku
Credits: 3 ECTS
Level: Advanced

Goals: China’s rise in world affairs is arguably one of the most significant foreign policy issues today affecting all aspects of international life. During this course participants will gain understanding of the major directions in Chinese foreign policy and what are its distinguishing characteristics.


This course examines the evolution of China’s foreign policy, contemporary issues, and China’s relations with Africa, Europe, the US, and rest of Asia.

Module 1. Historical legacy and institutions

This module provides foundational knowledge about the historical legacy and evolution of China’s foreign policy. It also examines both the informal and formal context in which foreign policy is made.
Taken as: Chapters 1-5 of the textbook “China and the world” (110 pages) and a set of quizzes (pass/fail).

Module 2. Different domains of China’s global interactions

Taken as: 5 video lectures, readings and learning diary.
Learning diary (ca 2000 words, 6 pages) based on 5 video lectures, as well as three chapters of own choice selected from these:

  • David Shambaugh: China and the world. Chapters 6-9
  • Shaun Breslin: China risen. Chapters 3-6
Module 3. Regional focus,

Short essay (1000 words, 3 pages) on China’s relations with one region/major power, or regional multilateralism, based on one of the chapters 10-15 (Book: China in the world) and additional readings.

Grading: 0-5

Guidelines for the use of AI tools and Plagiarism (as written in Centre for East Asian Studies’ Writing and Research Guide, May 2, 2023.)

Course instructor: Niki Sopanen, doctoral researcher at the University of Helsinki
Course coordinator: Outi Luova, docent, university lecturer at the Centre for East Asian Studies, UTU,

Course textbooks:
David Shambaugh, ed.  (2020)  China and the world.
Shaun Breslin (2021) China risen.

Grading: 0-5.

Preconditions for participation: Basic knowledge about China. For example the Asia Network course “Johdatus Itä-Aasiaan” or “Introduction to Chinese Politics and Society”

Application process:

Students who hold a valid study right at University Network’s member university can take this course for free. This includes both degree students and exchange students.

Other students can apply to the course as external self-paying students of the University of Turku.

Maximum intake 40 students.

Go to application instructions by clicking here.

Once your application has been processed, you will receive a  message about the decision. This will come a few weeks after the application period has ended. If you are accepted to the course, you will receive a welcoming email on the first day of the course, and gain access to the course site in the Moodle. The welcome email comes to the address you have given in the application form. It may go to the spam or offers-folder of your email (at least Gmail tends to do it), so check those folders too.

Picture: Li Yang, under Unsplash License.