Many different conceptual approaches and models have been used to analyze contemporary Chinese history and politics. Some of the more commonly used include "totalitarianism", "two-line struggle", "clientelism", "tendency analysis", "political culture", "interest group politics", "bureaucratic politics", "corporatism", "civil society", "fragmented authoritarianism", etc. (Brødsgaard, 1989; Guo 2013). This paper will survey these approaches in order to place the analysis of the contemporary Chinese politics and history in a comparative perspective. A survey of the field will remind us that contemporary China studies have increasingly developed into a collective effort and that no scholar conducts his/her research in a vacuum devoid of dept to other contributions in the field. The paper will focus on the period since the Cultural Revolution. Consequently, we will not attempt a discussion of the totalitarian model which heavily dominated the China field in the 1950s.