In 1986, Kenneth Lieberthal observed that the study of China in the United States had had little effect on the evolution of political science. Over twenty years later, its impact on the core debates in comparative politics seems to have been no more significant. Why have some of the most influential books in the study of contemporary Chinese politics not been significant in the discipline of comparative politics? Based on a quantitative overview of forty-two comparative politics syllabi, my argument is twofold. First, China scholarship has isolated the study of Chinese politics by primarily publishing in area journals, building analyses around debates exclusive to Chinese politics, and generating knowledge with limited contemplation of its potential for generalization outside China. Second, comparative politics seems to have been caught in a “democratic prism,” which has impeded scholars' ability to adapt some of the debates to empirical changes associated with China's rise and development.