WiSe19/20 Water in China's Domestic Politics and International Relations

Wintersemester 2019 / 2020 WiSe19/20 Water in China's Domestic Politics and International Relations

Water in China's Domestic Politics and International Relations
(Wintersemester 2019/20)

von Dr. Sebastian Biba

15.10.2019 bis 17.12.2019

Di  14:00 - 16:00 / Raum SH 2.107 (Seminarhaus)

Fr 13.12.2019 10-18 Uhr / Raum SH 5.105 (Seminarhaus)


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Link zu LSF


Target Group

Master students in Political Science and Modern East Asian Studies.

Course Content


Fresh water is essential to human existence and has no substitute. On the one hand, the population in China accounts for more than 20 percent of the world; however, the country only has 7 percent of the global freshwater resources at its disposal. What is more, a huge part of these resources is polluted and unfit for drinking or use in agriculture. On the other hand, China is an indispensable freshwater provider for most of its neighboring countries, because China is home to the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau, where the largest freshwater reserves outside the polar ice caps are located and where several major transboundary rivers originate. Meanwhile, the pressure on water resources is further growing across Asia – due mainly to economic development, population growth, urbanization, and climate change. The potential for water-related conflicts, sub-state and international, is therefore increasing as well.


Against this complicated background, this seminar is divided into two main parts: The first part deals with China’s domestic water woes, seeking to identify key problems as well as their socio-economic drivers and political root causes, but also looking into recent political developments aimed at alleviating the situation. With the domestic picture in mind, the second part, then, turns to the international theater and focuses on China’s river politics vis-à-vis its riparian neighbors, trying to analyze China’s actions in light of a cooperation-versus-conflict matrix and looking into the broader implications of China’s behavior for its continued (peaceful) rise.




 Date Topic 


Course Requirements
Target group

Master students in Political Science and Modern East Asian Studies (MEAS) are invited to participate in the seminar. The course language will be English, including for discussions and student presentations during class.

Students are expected to attend all classes (according to MEAS stipulations, students who have been absent from the course for more than 20% of classes may be required to withdraw from the course without credit), to do all readings assigned, to participate in class discussions and group activities, and to give a presentation (20-30 minutes). Those who seek to obtain a Leistungsschein / graded evidence of achievment are additionally required to hand in a seminar paper (15-20 pages). Students are free to hand in those seminar papers in English or German language (with the exception of MEAS students).

Please register through OLAT. Registration will be possible around the beginning of October.


Proof of Study

  • Certificate of attendance / Teilnahmeschein: presentation (20-30 minutes)
  • Graded evidence or achievment / Leistungsschein: presentation (20-30 minutes) and seminar paper (MEAS students: 15 pages,
    FB03 students: 20 pages)
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