It is generally assumed that a competent legal profession is a necessary precondition for the establishment of the rule of law. This article explores the role of the Chinese national uniform judicial examination in promoting the development of the rule of law in China. Based on an analysis of the examination papers, the article concludes that the judicial examination is mostly aimed at the technical requirements of law reflected in a formal or ”thin” rule of law. The questions indicate a turning away from the rule-by-law model. Only a few questions touch on issues that differentiate competing substantive or ”thick” conceptions of the rule of law. This small part of the examination generally reflects a non-liberal conception of the rule of law, although some points are so broadly stated that they can even be reconciled with a liberal rule-of-law model. The legal knowledge and technical legal skills that are the subjects of the examination reflect an increased professionalism of the law in China and have the potential to develop an independent legal profession similar to that in liberal rule-of-law systems.