2021-2022 Syllabuses

The schedule for the teaching of courses conforms to the dates of semesters of the Faculty of Social Sciences. Each course entails one session of two lecture hours per week over one semester.



The Chinese Economics: Location, Transformation, and Integration

This course provides an overview of the location, transformation, and integration of regional economies in Mainland China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, and Macau. Major theoretical perspectives are introduced to explain the growth dynamics of the Chinese economies, the shifting spatial distribution of economic activities and their outward direct investment flows across the globe.



Urban China: Cultural Basis and Contemporary Issues

China is experiencing rapid urbanisation and profound urban change, which can be viewed as reflecting the transformation of the society as a whole. In this course we will disentangle the different facets of urbanisation in order to understand the processes, outcomes and related problems. We analyse the cultural basis of contemporary Chinese cities by looking into the pre-socialist and socialist legacies, the dynamic institutional setup, and the influences of international urbanism and consumption culture. This is a course in human geography that understands cities as economic, social and cultural spatial systems within a broader context. The purpose of the course is to help students understand these systems, including their origins and transformations, and what they mean for China and for the rest of the world. It offers a detailed empirical view of China’s urbanisation and a rigorous conceptual understanding of city development through close readings of key works in the field of Chinese urban geography and urban studies.



Geography of International Trade and FDI in China

This course introduces students with the changing paradigms in theorization of international trade and FDI (foreign direct investment) as well as its profound implications to this globalizing world and China. The impact of foreign trade and investment on China’s regional economic development is also discussed.



China Field Trip

This programme-based field trip is designed to provide opportunities for students to examine first hand development issues and problems in China. Students are encouraged to incorporate what they have learned from the field trip into their dissertations or directed projects.



Public Policies and Regional Development

This is a seminar-type course about the concepts, theories, and practices of regional development. Course contents include the changing interpretations of the meanings of regional development; key policy issues in the practice of regional development such as central-local relations, transnational capital, global production networks, old industrial region revitalization, metropolitan development, industrial clusters, innovation and learning regions; and different approaches to regional development in selected world regions including North America, Western Europe, East Asia and China. The objective is to assist students to develop critical thinking in the evaluation of different perspectives and competing interpretations about the nature and dynamics of public policy and regional development in different historical and geographic contexts.



Globalization and Spatial Economic Transformation in China

This course emphasizes on the combination of theory and practical knowledge and skill, aiming to help students develop perspectives for analyzing the interplay between China’s spatial development and globalization. The objectives are to enhance students’ comprehensive ability of critical thinking and problem solving skills, as well as their ability of identifying, examining, and judging business opportunity and challenges as well as problems in the face of globalization era. First, we will examine how China has been increasingly integrated with the world economy and become globalizing. Second, by investigating into important issues such as China’s outward investments in Africa and Latin America, we ask how the rise of China as global economic power is reshaping the landscape of the world economy. Important globalization theories and theories of China’s post-Mao development will be introduced and examined critically throughout the semester. We will re-think the role China plays in connecting with the world and the impact of globalization on China’s ever changing spatial economic development. Throughout the course, students are encouraged to share their first-hand experience on the transformation of the Chinese economy.



Cultural Tourism in Hong Kong, Macau and South China

Cultural tourism offers a promising alternative to conventional tourism development, which also contributes to the preservation of the heritage and customs of the place. This course arouses students’ interests in exploring the rapid development of cultural tourism in Hong Kong, Macau and the South China region. This course has three main objectives. First, it aims to introduce the development and characteristics of cultural tourism in Hong Kong, Macau and South China regions. Second, the course aims to let students understand the unique mixed cultural and urban features in the region. Third, the course prompts students to have an awareness on the sustainable management of heritages in Hong Kong, Macau and South China regions. The course examines the dynamic relationship among conservation, sustainable management, social and cultural factors, stakeholders’ interests, tourism marketing and development trends, with selected case studies.



Climate Change, Environmental Resources and Human Carrying Capacity in China

The course introduces the concept of human carrying capacity in China. The capacity symbolizes the balance between population size and environmental resources. In Chinese history, it is shown that the human carrying capacity was periodically shrunk by climate deterioration and human-induced environmental degradation, resulting in catastrophic social consequences such as wars, population collapses and even dynastic changes. Based upon the lessons of the past, together with recent trends in climate change and social development, the human carrying capacity in contemporary China will be systematically examined. Some controversial issues related to man-environment interaction will also be discussed.



Land and Housing in China

The general aim of this course is to highlight and explain the roles of land governance and housing provision for the development of China. It will introduce land as a key resource and explain the fundamental changes both of land use and land management in China. In view of rapid urbanisation, special attention will be paid to the conversion of farm and rural land into built-up and urban land. Land policies profoundly influence the economic, environmental and social development of the country. This is discussed in the context of the so-called new urbanisation policies and the paradigm of sustainable development.

Within the development process, the provision of quantitatively and qualitatively sufficient housing is essential for the social development and political stability of the country. Housing supply is therefore a major, although not the only, driving force of land development. The course analyses the roles of the state, the real estate industry and individuals in housing provision and governance. It views housing not just as a physical shelter, but also as a home and part of a broader neighborhood.



China: Environment and Sustainable Development

Due to its geographic characteristics and its large population, China is prone to natural resources degradation.  Environmental problems have been accelerated by the rapid economic growth of recent years, high intensity of energy use, particularly in the industrial sector, and economic and pricing policies that have not taken into account the intrinsic value of resources.  These factors combine to cause over-exploitation of natural resources.  To critically analyze China’s development, this course comprises three main parts.  Following the introduction, Part I provides an overview of the state of the country’s natural environment.  Part II focuses on the institution, legislative and administrative framework for environment protection and nature conservation.  Finally, Part III discusses the government’s strategy for the environment and sustainable development as stipulated in recent Five-Year plans and China’s Agenda 21.



Politics of contemporary China

This course examines the ideology, institutions, and processes of the contemporary Chinese political system and offers a critical assessment of the social, economic and political changes unfolding in China. The Chinese Communist revolution in 1949 has profound repercussions for China and the world community. The first three decades of the People’s Republic of China were characterized by drastic socio-economic transformation and political mobilization initiated by Mao Zedong. China’s post-Mao leaders have not only abandoned Mao’s radicalism, but also attempted to reform the socialist economic and political systems and open up the country to the outside world. China’s reform policy since 1978 has produced major achievements in a variety of areas, despite periodic disruptions and continuing difficulties in some sectors. China’s recent economic development and growing role in international affairs have attracted worldwide attention. Studying China’s governance will constitute a key issue on the scholarly and policy agendas of many countries for years to come.

GEOG7122 (12 credits)


Dissertation in China Development Studies

The dissertation shall be a structured presentation of findings of guided independent research on a topic which addresses a topic of China’s development issues. The topic shall be chosen by the candidate and the dissertation shall be 10,000-20,000 words. Candidates are expected to present the dissertation orally in the Contemporary China Seminars series and in written form as well.  The date for submitting the dissertation would be announced at the start of the first year of study (for full-time candidates) or at the start of the final year of study (for part-time candidates).

GEOG7136 (6 credits)


Research Methods and Directed Project in China Development Studies

This is a course on the nature and methods of research in social, economic, and spatial developments in China. Topics to be covered will include the identification of research problems, preparation of a research proposal, formulation of research questions and research hypotheses, collection of data from various sources, critical assessment of the data collected from China, different techniques of data analysis, and presentation of research findings. The purpose is to introduce to students a workable framework for independent research and to demonstrate how statistical techniques could be utilized to solve various research problems concerning China’s economic growth and spatial transformation, through the writing of a directed project.

Additional Pedagogic Requirements


Contemporary China Seminar Series

Candidates will be required to attend a series of seminars to be offered by scholars, Government officers, and business elites from Hong Kong, Mainland China and overseas on the development issues in contemporary China. They may also be required to present findings from their independent dissertation research in the seminar series. Attendance in the seminars is required.

Additional Pedagogic Requirements



Candidates must satisfy the examiners in coursework assessment for each of the courses taken. The assessment of coursework will include written assignments, candidates’ seminar presentations, their role as discussants in other candidates’ seminars, their general contribution to seminars, and other relevant activities, including field trips.