Unlike most previous works which commonly define globalization as a strict economic characteristic, using the overall globalization index and its three sub-dimensions – economic, social and political integrations to proxy openness, this paper examines the effect of globalization on economic growth associated with autocratic institutional in China, using the a two-step dynamic panel generalized method of moments technique in a panel of 30 provinces, municipalities and the autonomous regions over the period of 1970–2006. We find that different globalization indices have different impacts on regional economic growth. Also, autocracy may harm regional development, but these conclusions are very sensitive to different globalization variables specifications. Further, considering the interactive effects between globalization and economic growth, we show that in the period of higher global integration, the higher democracy (lower autocracy) may harm economic growth in the case of China. We emphasize that democracy is clearly not a necessary condition for the purpose of economic growth in China.