China s higher education system has been experiencing imbalanced development in the sense that the western region is obviously lagging behind. In order to adjust this imbalance, China s Western Higher Education Development Plan (CWHEDP) was implemented by the central government in 2000. The purpose of this study is to analyze to what extent the CWHEDP policy has worked and what factors have possibly influenced the implementation of the policy. In order to determine these, the study analyzes the implementation process of CWHEDP, as well as exploring the possible connection between the change in the performance of the western region s higher education and the policy. The study utilizes both quantitative and qualitative methods. Official statistical data analysis is conducted in order to examine the change in performance of the western region s higher education system. In order to analyze the policy s implementation and explore the linkage between performance and policy, a case study of three provinces in the western region is conducted. The results of the study indicate that three factors could be influential to CWHEDP s implementation process: policy standards and objectives, inter-organizational communication and regulation for accountability and supervision, and disposition of implementers. Among these three, the disposition of implementers could be the most important one. In addition, there is an assumption that CWHEDP might not contribute much to higher education development in the western region despite the fact that higher education conditions have improved considerably since the implementation of CWHEDP.