Class Apps: Chinese Contemporary Issues

There are currently 18 video presentations available under this category:


American China Fantasies. As Xi Jinping looks to expanding China’s role in the world, historian Jeff Wasserstrom explores the evolution of US attitudes towards China. Looking at the past century and today, Wasserstrom discusses changing views of China, how and why these evolved, and how these correlate with US images of other countries—including Japan– in modern history.

China, Big Data, and Surveillance. Political Scientist Jessica Teets describes the ways China is using big data and surveillance to develop its new “social credit system.” Sometimes maligned in the Western media, the social credit system doesn’t just punish bad behavior, Teets notes, it also rewards good behavior. Also, despite the authoritarian aspects of the social credit system, Teets explains it has the potential to result in better governance since it also applies to government officials and companies.

China in the 21st Century. Jeffrey Wasserstrom on “What everyone needs to know.” 
Author Jeff Wasserstrom introduces the revised 2013 edition of his best-selling book, with special attention to how teachers can use the book, in whole or part, in the classroom.


China’s Changing Grand Strategy: China’s Rise, Regional Security and Domestic Reform. The philosophy behind China’s current “grand strategy,” as well as shifts and trends in this strategy and international and domestic impact are laid out in a concise, information-filled introduction for teachers by political scientist Orion Lewis.


China’s Millennials: The Want Generation. An Interview with Book Author Eric Fish. Author Eric Fish introduces his 2015 publication, China’s Millennials: The Want Generation, discussing his goals and research, and providing an introduction to the themes and case studies in his work. He offers suggestions for how teachers can use profiles in the book with their students to teach about contemporary China.

Chinese Characters. Editor Jeffrey Wasserstrom on Teaching with Contemporary Profiles. This 2012 publication offers 15 case studies that challenge oversimplified views of China and helps educators present a more multifaceted portrait of a country undergoing huge transformations. These profiles make compelling teaching materials!

The Current State of Uighurs and Kazacks in China. Sarah Tynen. Originally offered as a webinar, Dr. Sarah Tynen shares her recent research on the situation in Xinjiang and the impact of Chinese government policies on the Uyghurs in that region.



Demographic Change in Contemporary China. Political scientist Jessica Teets introduces critical demographic changes that will challenge and transform China over the next decades, including China’s graying population, and how the government of Xi Jinping is planning to create new provisions of a social safety net as part of the “Chinese Dream.”

Demographic Cliffs and Economic Reforms. After decades of double digit economic growth, China is new facing the “new normal” of lower economic growth. Political scientist Jessica Teets offers a crash course in the changing Chinese economy, discussing factors of change and how China needs to reform its economy going forward.

Disputed Waters: South China Sea, International Law, and the Future of Asian Balance of Power. Political scientist Orion Lewis sheds light on the territorial disputes occurring in the South China Sea that continue to make regional and international headlines. Lewis breaks down the complex issues with straightforward terms, illuminating maps, and classroom-appropriate videos and documents.

Dissecting the Rise of China: China’s Rise, Regional Security, and Domestic Reform. Political Scientist Orion Lewis offers a concise and insightful overview of China’s 21st-century rise to global influence, including implications for the Asian region and the world political and economic order, as well as the meaning of this rise for China’s domestic reform agenda.

The Hong Kong Crisis: Historical and Comparative Perspectives. How can we better understand the evolving place of Hong Kong within the PRC and help students understand the current events there? Sinologist Jeffrey Wasserstrom, author of Vigil: Hong Kong on the Brink (publication date: February 2020) analyzes the ongoing 2019 Hong Kong protests within the context of increasing political control in Xi Jinping’s China. He also offers analogies, frameworks, and comparative lenses for considering the 2019 protests in light of earlier Chinese protests (the 1919 May 4th Movement and the 1989 Tiananmen protests) and 20th-century European Cold War geopolitics.

Individualism and Upheaval Among China’s Millennials. Observers often comment that young people in China have been brought up with lofty expectations and plentiful opportunity as a result of China’s economic boom. How is China’s “millennial” generation coping with China’s slowing economic growth and narrowing possibilities for success? In this Class App by China’s Millennials author Eric Fish, teachers and students get a vivid glimpse of the challenges, rebellion, and disillusionment among young people struggling to succeed in a rapidly changing China.

Migration and Urbanization in China. China is experiencing a feverish rate of urbanization–the largest migration of people ever witnessed, as 250 million Chinese from rural areas defy tradition and law to move to urban areas for better lives. Political scientist Jessica Teets discusses the challenges, costs, benefits, and unintended developments of this massive migration and urbanization, as well as some solutions.

New Media and Internet in China. Chinese censorship of the Internet, a hot topic in the Western media, can be a hook to engage secondary students in exploration of important issues in contemporary China. Political scientist Orion Lewis presents a concise overview for teachers of three debates surrounding the development of the Internet and other forms of new media in China: 1) whether the Internet will lead to democratization in China; 2) new media, and government attempts to it, as factors in China’s economic development; and 3) how the Internet impacts China’s international relations. Professor Lewis lays out the debates, offers current research, and provides suggestions for introducing these topics in class. Finally, he suggests Chinese and Western Internet sites that students can use to analyze current issues.

Taiwan: The Other China.
Make room for Taiwan in your curriculum. Chinese historian Timothy Weston offers a “quick course” on what—and why—our students need to know about Taiwan in the 21st century. Enrich your students’ perspectives today!


Xi Jinping:(Re)Centralization of Power.
Chinese President Xi Jinping’s attempts to consolidate power have garnered considerable attention inside and outside of China. As Xi’s institutional changes and anti-corruption campaign have targeted officials at all levels and, increasingly, potential critics, China scholars outside of China are trying to determine if Xi wants to save the Chinese Communist party through his campaigns or if he is attempting to gain power for personal gain. Jessica Teets discusses both theories and the implications of Xi’s (re)centralization of power.

Xi Jinping’s Reform Agenda. The “Chinese Dream”-what is it and how will it change China? Xi Jinping has offered a new and sweeping reform agenda, which he has labeled the Chinese Dream. Political scientist Jessica Teets presents a clear introduction to the promised reforms, how government policy is working to make good on the promise, and how it will change China.