The judicial accountability reform in China introduced the concept of lifelong accountability, which requires prosecutors to be responsible for the cases they handle by tying their reputation and career prospects to the quality of the cases, regardless of whether they still hold those positions. To explain this lifelong accountability, this article analyzes key issues surrounding prosecutorial accountability in the Chinese context, critically examining the accountability system before the reform and the transformations brought about by the new accountability regime. It argues that although lifelong accountability is expected to be a deterrent to prosecutorial misconduct, the feasibility of the accountability mechanism is subject to doubt. The reform tries to form collective responsibility, enabling frontline prosecutors to exercise greater autonomy. However, it has not led to a paradigm shift from the predominantly bureaucratic model to prosecutorial professionalism, which demonstrates profound distrust in the prosecutor’s judgment at a fundamental level.