SARS is the first major new infectious disease in the 21st century (Rodier, 2003) and is described as a "serious disaster" in mainland China where it caused unprecedented panic and social and economic consequences. A total of 5,327 SARS cases were reported, with 348 deaths (Ministry of Health, 2003a). Although the Chinese government was criticised by the international community for underreporting at the early stages of the SARS epidemic (Editor CMAJ, 2003a), China eventually achieved remarkable success in combating SARS. This paper documents some aspects of the Chinese experience infighting against SARS, based on interviews with my Chinese colleagues, analysed with reference to government policy documents and published articles. My interviewees included health officials at the central, provincial and municipal levels and hospital managers who had been working in the frontline of the battle against SARS.