This special issue of American Behavioral Scientist examines the irregular transactions and informal institutions that constitute the essential underside of the Chinese economy. Contributors with a range of disciplinary backgrounds explore shadow banking, social welfare and rural development by private enterprise, NGO financing, the credit/debt cycle of informal international trade, and offshore investment by Chinese state-owned enterprises. The question posed by all contributors is as follows: How, in China through the 2010s, do irregular or nonlegal financial transactions influence political authority? Institutions, the rules and norms by which we live, are found to be key. This â€œIntroductionâ€ sketches the conceptual links between money, rules, and ruling in the context of the heightened authoritarianism and institutional formalization of the 2010sâ€”the Xi Jinping era.