As a result of the movement from government to governance, various institutional reforms have taken place across countries to shift powers and responsibilities of government to public and private partnerships or quasi-government and nongovernment actors. Much has been said about the dynamics and processes of this shift, but its outcomes remain practically obscured and theoretically underexplored. Changing modes of governance does not necessarily lead to improved outcomes. Government service should be assessed not only by quantity but also by quality. For any society, healthy social development is no less important than economic growth and material affluence. As China's case indicates, the ways, processes and results of effective governance in fulfilling social, ethical and environmental responsibilities still remain challenging despite or because of rapid GDP growth, significant expansion of public services and considerable improvement in living standards. China's experience in dealing with a range of governance issues provides both positive and negative lessons for other societies that are facing similar problems.