Since the 1978 reforms, city-regions are on the rise in China, and urbanisation is expected to continue as the Central Government intends to further push city development as part of the economic modernisation agenda. City-regions pose new challenges to governance. They transcend multiple local jurisdictions and often involve higher level governments. This paper aims to provide an improved understanding of city-regional governance in China, focusing on three contrasting examples (the Yangtze River Delta Metropolitan Region, the Beijing- Tianjin-Hebei Metropolitan Region, and the Guanzhong-Tianshui Metropolitan Region). We show that, in spite of a strong vertical dimension of city-regional governance in China, the role and interference of the Central Government in matters of metropolitan policy-making is variable.