This course explores politics in East Asia. We will investigate domestic political processes of China, Japan, North and South Korea, and Taiwan. We will compare political institutions, political cultures, and policy consequences in these political systems. Issues related to regional economic cooperation, security, and their implications for foreign policy of the United States will be covered in GOVT326 International Relations of East Asia.
East Asia consists of a diverse mix of countries. By examining political systems of East Asia alone, we gain a lot of insights about functions of political institutions around the world. We can observe a stable democracy, new democracies, and a total dictatorship. We observe a parliamentary system as well as presidential systems. We can also trace historical process of democratization and economic transition. The political leaders of China are not subject to the outright forces of popular electoral competition. Japan is a relatively established and stable democracy, where a single dominant party has been in power for approximately 50 years. South Korea and Taiwan are relatively new democracies which successfully underwent transitions from authoritarian rule, where the partisan control of the executive has begun to alternate. North Korea is a longtime military dictatorship. China has already begun to grow vibrantly, whereas Japan is at the stage of economic maturity. In addition to building up familiarity with politics in East Asia, students are expected to learn methods of comparative and social scientific reasoning.