Taking a malaria control program from the control phases through to elimination is challenging. The reorientation of the malaria control program involves a shift of focus, from reaching high levels of coverage of interventions to prevent morbidity and mortality, to an emphasis on completeness and timeliness of activities in order to seek out infections and interrupt transmission. The need to communicate this change in strategic thinking to large, cumbersome health systems has proven a challenge. Has China found a solution?