Despite its long-standing legal tradition deeply nourished by the heritages of Confucianism and Legalism, China had to wait until the end of the nineteenth century to start developing a comprehensive and full-fledged legal system in the Western sense. It were indeed China’s first encounters with international law during the ‘Century of Humiliations’ that drove China into a reform process that was initiated at the end of the Qing Dynasty and was then pursued during the era of the Republic. After an abrupt interruption during the three decades of Maoism, the reform of the Chinese legal system took another fresh start with the launch of the ‘opening-up’ policy in 1979. Drawing inspiration from various external and domestic sources, the reform of China’s legal system has been at the heart of the changes in China’s governance system in the last four decades. Additionally, the rule of law has progressively emerged as a central concept in the construction of China’s governance identity. The rule of law served accordingly as the main theme of the Fourth Plenum of the 18th Party Congress in 2014.