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PS457/557 - U.S. - China Relations

(Spring 2004)
MW 10:00-11:50
BEXL 328

Professor Hua-yu Li
Gilkey Hall 300A
Office Hours
MW 12:00-13:00
or by appointment

The course examines the historical evolution of the U.S.-China relationship. Special attention is given to the close economic ties that have developed between the two countries in recent decades as well as the tensions and conflicts associated with a wide range of issues, including trade and investment, security, political reform, human rights, , and .


  1. Midterm:  The midterm will be an in-class examination and will be on Monday, May 3. The midterm will contain two essay questions.
  2. Leading Class Discussion: Each student is required to lead one class discussion on one of the assigned readings. The discussion should be about 20 minutes.
  3. Research Paper: Each student is required to write a research paper on a subject concerning U.S.- China relations. Each student should discuss the proposed research topic with the instructor prior to beginning work on the paper. The paper should be 10 pages in length; for graduate students, it should be 15 pages. The paper will due on Monday, June 2, 2004 by 5 p.m.
  4. Class Attendance: Students are required to attend classes regularly and to participate actively in class discussion.  Missing more than three classes will result in a reduction in the final grade.


  • Warren I. Cohen, American¿s Response to China: A History of Sino-American Relations (Columbia University Press, 2000)
  • Melvyn C. Goldstein, The Snow Lion and the Dragon: , , and the Dalai Lama (University of California Press, 1997)
  • Scott Kennedy, ed., Cross Talk, The American Debate over Policy since Normalization: A Reader (Rowman & Littlefield, 2002)
  • Alan D. Romberg, Rein in at the Brink of the Precipice: American Policy Toward and U.S.-PRC Relations (The , 2003)

Final Course Grade:

Class Participation = 10%
Midterm = 25%
Leading class discussion = 25%
Research paper = 40%
Total 100%

Course Outline:

All books are on reserve at the Valley Library

Week 1. March 29 & 31: Introduction & U.S.-China Relations: The Age of Imperial Expansion
Cohen, Prologue; Chapter 1.
Week 2. April 5 & 7: U.S.-China Relations: The United States as an Asian Power
Cohen, Chapters 2-6.
Week 3. April 12 & 14: U.S.-China Relations under Mao
Cohen, Chapter 7.
(April 14, in-class video viewing: Sentimental Imperialists.)
Week 4. April 19 & 21: U.S.- China Relations during the Golden Years (1984-88)
Cohen, Chapter 8.
Kennedy, Chapters 1-3; 6-7.
Week 5. April 26 & 28: Tiananmen and Political Reform
Cohen, Chapter 9.
Kennedy, Chapters 8-10.
(May 3, in-class midterm)
Week 6. May 5: Clinton's New China Strategy and Worries over China
Kennedy, Chapters 11-13; 14-15; 17 & 19.
Week 7. May 10 & 12: Human Rights
Kennedy, Chapters 5 & 18.
Recommended feature film: The Red Corner, 122 minutes.
Week 8. May 17 & 19: Policy under Bush: a Strategic Competitor? Tibet
Kennedy, Chapters 20-22.
Goldstein, the entire book.
Recommended documentary film: : Cry of the Snow Lion, 104 minutes.
Recommended feature film: Seven Years in , 139 minutes.
Week 9. May 24 & 26: and the U.S.-China Relationship
Kennedy, Chapters 4 &16.
Romberg, the entire book.
(May 26, in-class video viewing: Dangerous Straits, 60 minutes.)
Week 10. (May 31 is a holiday)
June 2: Conclusion
Class presentation of your research paper (3 to 5 minutes).