David Bray and Elaine Jeffreys introduce the concept of ‘government’, defined as guiding the changing imbrication of ‘people’ and ‘things’. They show how new ways of thinking about the roles and goals of government have emerged to solve ‘new problems’ in economic-reform China, even as Mao-era influences have persisted. They further reveal the new roles played by intermediary actors – professionals, officials, volunteers, and ‘everyday experts’ – in transforming the nature of government and everyday life in contemporary China.