Understanding China

All CUHK undergraduate students admitted in 2022-23 and thereafter are required to take two one-unit online courses on China as part of the University’s Core Curriculum: UGCP1001 “Understanding China” and UGCP 1002 “Hong Kong in the Wider Constitutional Order”.  Undergraduate students admitted before 2022-23 may take UGCP1001 as an elective course but the course cannot be taken to fulfil the University General Education requirements. The two courses are offered every term (including the University Summer Session) in each academic year.

UGCP1001 Understanding China

The history of China is both rich and complex, as is its development in the modern era. The growing influence of China on the world stage, as one of the largest economies, a prominent player in international relations, and a major centre for knowledge creation, highlights the need for an integrated and multi-disciplinary understanding of its past and present. The course, UGCP1001 Understanding China, brings together several perspectives on China in addressing the following topics: cultural and intellectual roots, epochal events in history, modernisation and social change, economic development, and science and technology.


In addition to an introductory lecture to the course, the video lectures of UGCP1001 consist of the following five modules:

  1. Understanding China: Intellectual Foundations
  2. History as Mirror: Looking at Today’s China from the Past
  3. China’s Road to Modernisation
  4. The Chinese Economy: Past, Present and Future
  5. Science and Technology in China

Learning Outcomes

Students enrolled in this course will be able to:

  1. acquire a basic understanding of selected key cultural concepts that have shaped individuals and society in Chinese history, with reference to the Confucian, Daoist and Buddhist traditions;
  2. gain an appreciation of the complex forces that have impacted historical development in China and contributed to unity and division, the cultural and ethnic diversity of the nation, as well as continuities between past and present in government institutions, in the relations between China and the West, and in the historical-mindedness of the people;
  3. develop a basic grasp of the modernisation of China as a movement of national salvation and self-empowerment involving giant social transformations, the emergent role and influence of China as an important member of the international community, and the concept of modernity in relation to Westernisation and globalisation;
  4. become familiar with selected milestones in the economic development of China in the last two centuries, in particular the period since the founding of the People’s Republic, and future challenges in sustainable development;
  5. acquire a basic knowledge of the major scientific and technological advances in ancient and modern China, with an understanding of the significance of these achievements as well as their limitations from a comparative cultural perspective in the study of scientific discoveries;
  6. develop an understanding of the phenomenon of China rising in the broader context of Chinese culture and history, and reflect on how one may respond to the challenges of China;
  7. enhance awareness of cultural differences, leading to further reflections of one’s own cultural identity;
  8. develop a deepened appreciation of the complexity, grandeur and richness of Chinese history and culture, and with it a potentially enhanced sense of national identity.

Course Assessment

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Video Lectures and Online Assignments

The video lectures, including an introduction and five main modules, will be uploaded to Blackboard in sequence. While the video lectures will be available for students’ viewing at any time after being uploaded, the online assignment for a module must be completed within a specified period.

To better schedule their learning, students enrolled in the course are advised to view the video lectures to complete the online assignments before their submission deadlines through Blackboard.

Optional Consultation Sessions

Consultation sessions will be conducted to help students achieve a better understanding of the video lectures and required readings.

The consultation sessions are optional. Students are welcome to raise questions and reflect on the contents of individual modules in these sessions. The information about the consultation sessions will be posted on Blackboard.