The predicament of political reform that China faces today is that while people are increasingly aware of its importance, they lack a basic consensus on what to reform and how. This article argues that political reform cannot be achieved by utopianism but must be based on Chinese political practice. The practice in Chinese politics in the era of reform and opening demonstrates that political reform has three main dimensions, namely, open party, meritocratic competition and public participation. First, the ruling party, the Chinese Communist Party (CPC), tends to become increasingly open, which is leading to an open political system. Second, an open political system is gradually leading to limited political competition among political elites, based on the traditional notion of meritocracy. And third, with political competition, social participation is gradually being materialised. Overall, openness, competition and participation are the essential characteristics of the so-called Chinese political model. This article also argues that while China's political system is developing these characteristics, there are enormous challenges ahead for the realisation of these political values. But, if the intra-Party democracy cannot be substantiated, the future of the CPC is uncertain.