This article analyses distinctive features and contextual causes of the resignation en masse of Chinese government officials in the wake of the 18th Party Congress. Typically, officials who resigned were neither being "ceilinged" nor considered laggards. Instead, they were front runners with proven records, and had stronger achievement orientations and risk-taking personalities. However, three contextual changes triggered the exodus—the heightened risk of pursuing a political career attributed to the unexpectedly relentless momentum of the anti-corruption campaign; intensified work stress due to the reimposed orthodox ideological straightjacket and reinstated Maoist morals; and demoralisation and disillusionment as a result of aggravated nepotism and the condoned practice of anonymous informing.