On December 11, 2001, the People's Republic of China officially joined the World Trade Organisation (WTO). More than 15 years after it had announced the resumption of its status as a contracting party, the country that had since then become one of the largest telecommunication market in the world, would finally abide by a set of internationally defined norms and rules. In the course of the WTO accession, its telecommunication sector has undergone an extensive reform process, introducing competition and the foundation of a legislative framework. Yet, China's telecommunication commitments have been notably weaker than those negotiated in other service sectors. The restructuring of the telecommunications sector – which started along the lines of global liberalisation programmes – could have been buttressed by the accession to the WTO. It was however shaped and blocked by diverse interests emanating from the fragmented Chinese political structure and resulted in an environment fraught with substantive regulatory issues . This thesis seeks to answer two inter-related questions: why did the government fail to reform in-depth the telecommunication sector and what mediated the impact the WTO accession process had on the sector's reform. It argues that the Chinese government’s failure to create a regulatory regime to implement a policy of telecommunication liberalisation represents essentially a problem of institutional change. The thesis demonstrates that the bargaining approach to policy-making in the telecommunication sector has allowed, and even facilitated, the first stage of reforms but that it is ill-suited for participation in a supranational framework.