Accounting in China has been subject to many changes since the commencement of the 1979 economic reform programmes. Developments have taken place in both commercial and governmental accounting. This paper describes current practices in governmental and non-profit accounting in China and also examines evolutionary features of the discipline’s progressive history over time. In addition, the significance of the history of governmental accounting in China is addressed by reference to transformations of ethical, cultural and administrative arrangements. This examination of current practices and historical developments could also have relevance to assessing the potential effectiveness of recent changes in governmental accounting and financial reporting in Western countries. These habitual reactions as solutions may not be as sensitive to legislative overview for good government as are Chinese responses to opportunities provided by economic growth.