Internationalization is a contested concept. Economic internationalization of China does not only refer to increased cross-border flows of capital, technology and goods and services, as is conventionally argued. From a critical perspective, internalizing principles, rules and norms embedded in the world economy which define ‘correct’ and ‘acceptable’ economic behavior of the state constitute a more dynamic and revolutionary process of China’s economic internationalization. An examination of Chinese reform experience and the contestations about China’s WTO membership reveals that the selective internalization so far has been dictated by strategic and instrumental considerations. China’s ‘deep integration’ into the increasingly globalized economy after its entry into the WTO demands normative changes, not just behavioral ones. This is contingent less on irrevocable wider opening of the Chinese economy than on immutable internalization and cognitive embracing of laws, standards and norms prevailing in the world economy.