China’s rare earth industry is currently undergoing a profound transformation. The central government is pushing forward the reorganization of the industry, tightening standards for environmental protection and resource conservation, and controlling exports. The current debate revolves very much around the Chinese export controls while underemphasizing the dimension of the domestic policies. The leading research question of this dissertation is: why, how and how should the Chinese central government carry out a profound transformation of the rare earth industry? The research focus of this dissertation is threefold: first, I seek to examine the motives of the central government in pushing forward this transformation. In a second step, I analyze the concrete measures and their efficacy. Thirdly, I assess to what degree the government efforts can be associated with the concept of post-extractivism. The analysis relies on actor-network theory as a conceptual framework.