How has reform changed Chinese and American civil service systems in light of China’s landmark reform in 1993 by contrast to the aftermath of the U.S. Civil Service Act of 1883? While there are significant differences, remarkable administrative and political similarities also emerge. Particularly salient is the role of educational systems in the civil service development of both countries. Surprisingly, this comparative analysis finds a common struggle to balance professional expertise with political accountability and control. King Kwun Tsao of the Chinese University of Hong Kong and John Abbott Worthley of Seton Hall University argue that further comparative research is essential to hone an improved understanding of China specifically as well as civil service systems generally.