Politics and Public Policy in the People’s Republic of China

Crawford School of Public Policy | Executive course
Policy Essentials


This course provides an introduction to how politics works and how policy gets made in the People’s Republic of China. It explores the key institutions, people and processes behind top-level decision-making and the mechanisms used to implement decisions from the centre down.

Sessions examine the role of the Chinese Communist Party and its relationship to government, intergovernmental relations , bureaucratic bargaining and internal conflicts as well as the ways the Party is adapting to confront new challenges and ensure its survival. The course also examines the major public policy challenges confronting the Chinese Communist Party, including, health, the environment, inequality and economic reform.

This course will run as an online and distance program in 2020. It is tentatively set to run for one week 30 November - 4 December 2020. Specific dates and times, including for multiple live sessions will be confirmed soon. Contact to find out more.

Course date: 
30 November – 4 December 2020
Online and distance

Before 13 November 2020: $1,195

After 13 November 2020: $1,495

Group discounts available.

Course overview

The course is divided into four sessions. The first session examines China’s political system and policy making architecture. The second session examines institutional changes that have made the Chinese Party-state a sophisticated policymaking machine that increasingly presents itself as an alternative to Western liberal democratic models.

The following sessions consider major public policy challenges confronting the Party today, including inequality, the environment, social welfare, ethnic unrest and foreign policy, and the implications of China’s policy choices for Australia.

Learning outcomes:

Participants will gain:

  • An understanding of how policy is made and implemented in the PRC.
  • Insights into the nature of policy contestation and mechanisms through which evidence informs policy in China.
  • An understanding of the major public policy challenges confronting China and how those challenges shape engagement with Australia.

Who should attend?

Mid-level public servants and private sector employees from a variety of departments and industries who are engaged with China or who anticipate future engagement with China.

Online training: How it works

This is a real-time, date-specific course, in which you will join live classes, engage and connect with experts, other course participants and the Executive Education team. Here’s how it works:

  • Pre-course live session. This is an opportunity for you to grab a cuppa and join our meet and greet before the course commences.
  • Practice + Study. Set aside up to 2 hours per day – this time commitment will vary depending on how deeply you choose to engage with the material. It is up to you.
  • Course pack. Each participant will receive a carefully curated workbook, which includes everything you need to guide you through the course.
  • Live sessions with presenter. This is a specified date and time for you to come together with the presenter and other participants to consolidate your learning.
  • Post-course. On completion of the course, you will receive your post-course resources for your reference and further learning.

Why choose online training?

  • No time off work – study and practice when you can.
  • Busy schedule? No problem, you can go at your own pace, join just the live classes, and do the course work whenever suits you best. We know that work and family obligations can be overwhelming. Mix and match the schedule to fit your life.
  • No travel. This is a course right at your fingertips. With no travel expenses, this is a very affordable option for high-level training with world-leading experts.
  • Live interaction with world-leading experts. You’ll have direct access to all the best resources and trainers.
  • Working remotely? With the online and distance format, we welcome participants from around the world to join us.


What if I can’t make a live session? No problem, we understand you are busy. Live sessions are recorded and transcribed for you to catch up in your own time.

What if I’m in a different time zone? All advertised course times are scheduled in Australian Eastern Daylight Time (AEDT) otherwise known as GMT+11. Convert for your time zone here.

What if I am not tech savvy? As long as you have access to a phone or computer, you’ll have no problems. This is a low-tech course designed for everyone. If needed our team is here to help – contact us at

What if I have questions? We would love to hear from you. Contact our team at

Course presenter(s)

Dr Ben Hillman

Ben Hillman is a political scientist, public policy researcher and advisor. His research examines policies and mechanisms for promoting political inclusion and safeguarding minority rights. Ben has researched politics and public administration in the People’s Republic of China for more than 15 years. He is the author of Patronage and Power: Local State Networks and Party-state Resilience in Rural China (Stanford University Press, 2014), and Ethnic Conflict and Protest in Tibet and Xinjiang: Unrest in China’s West (with Gray Tuttle. eds.) Columbia University Press (2016).

Ben is Director of the Policy and Governance Program at Crawford.

Updated:  24 June 2021/Responsible Officer:  Crawford Engagement/Page Contact:  CAP Web Team