Why and how do the tiers of local government, and the modes of governance evolving around them, occupy a critical role in China’s authoritarian state structure? This chapter approaches this question by looking at one of the core functions embedded in local governance arrangements: policy implementation. The ability of continuously safeguarding a critical degree of output effectiveness amidst ever-increasing complexity and challenges is widely regarded as a pillar of state capacity and a symbol of regime adaptability in contemporary China. In fact, governance research needs a local perspective to examine ultimate policymaking where the state ‘meets the people’ and where policy outcomes become immediately relevant. And it is at the local level that the political system seems most flexible and adaptive.