Joining the World Trade Organization rules-based system requires profound changes in the Chinese legal system. Systemic impacts of the WTO as an international institution on its member's domestic legal order are examined. Central to the analysis is the changing role of law in China, and whether, by converging with the WTO system, the Chinese legal order is incorporating some basic principles of the rule of law. Documenting the long accession process with primary sources and interviews with key officials, the thesis examines China's systemic legal commitments and its concrete implementation actions. It demonstrates that China has used its WTO membership to accelerate domestic legal reform and overcome constraints, hence utilizing the WTO as an external impetus to guide its ongoing legal reform in ways that result in a redefinition of the roles between the market and the government and a stronger role of law in Chinese society