Using Richard E. Matland's analysis of the processes of implementation and outcomes, this chapter attempts to review some of the most significant policies in rural China since the reform and the opening up of China in 1978. It first briefly introduces Matland's ambiguity conflict framework. Second, the chapter covers the decentralization process that took off with the reform era, which not only put a strain on central local relations but also led to the drive to rein in control by the central government. It discusses the 1994 tax reform, clearly demonstrating the central government's determination, resources and capacity for such implementation in the framework of Matland's ambiguity conflict model of policy implementation. Rural tax reform could have reduced the immediate tension between cadres and peasants, but it did not solve the problem of stagnant economic development. The chapter addresses the limits of the Chinese state in implementing tax reforms and developing rural China.