The People's Republic of China since 1978 has been called a post-Communist and post-ideological society. And yet, at least in terms of maintaining an institutional network of party schools and think tanks, and a common conceptual language for the political elite within the Communist Party, China continues to put resources and effort into what could be construed as ideological work. What is the function of this, in a society which is undergoing dynamic economic and social reform? Does ideology continue to perform a role in building up cohesiveness amongst the political elite in contemporary China, and if so, how? This article looks at the ways in which ideology is formulated in the key speeches of Hu Jintao and in the institutional and linguistic context of these.