The economic crisis is an opportunity for governments to face the fact that Keynesian interventionist policies are not the path to success. However, support for such policies is being sustained by misperceptions of China's remarkable economic progress in recent years. Its success is commonly attributed to government-led initiatives, labelled as ‘The China Model’, which divert credit away from the true source of growth: its experience of the free market. This article examines the development of the free market in China and explains why the government's recent behaviour threatens to undermine the gains of recent decades.