In July, the Communist Party of China (CCP) will celebrate its centenary. This is the most important event in the CCP’s political calendar. It presents an opportunity for the leadership to highlight developmental achievements, which are seen as critical to its legitimacy. Economic development, however, is one of many factors that feed the algorithm of legitimacy. Viewing the question of legitimacy simply from a transactional prism of the party ensuring developmental outcomes in exchange for obedience is reductive, resulting in a misunderstanding of what sustains CCP rule in China. History, or more precisely, building and guiding a supportive historical narrative is crucial too.