Updated to: 10 February 2015

China is one of the earliest countries that implemented EIA. The EIA system has gradually evolved with the development of the environmental management system and the environmental protection legal system. Since the promulgation of the Interim Environmental Protection Law of the People's Republic of China in 1979, EIA was stipulated as a legal system. Thereafter, it has been further developed through a continious improvement and legislating process with the Government taking a leading role. The practice of Regional Environmental Impact Assessment (REIA) has already early initiated the implementation of strategic assessment. The EIA Law from 2002 marks a milestone in the systematic and legal development of EIA and SEA in China. It extented the objectives of EIA for construction projects to strategic development plans, providing the basis for Plan EIA (PEIA), the principal form of SEA in China. Nowadays, a complex system of regulations, statutes, ordinances, directives and technical guidelines regulate the EIA and PEIA process. In 2014, the revised Environmental Protection Law was promulgated. It provides for better conditions for enforcing EIA provisions and it requires EIA for economical and technical policies, thus it firstly mentions an SEA-like procedure.

In China, the main managment agencies of EIA are the competent authorities of environmental protection at central level (Ministry of Environmental Protection) as well as at the local level (local Environmental Protection Bureaus).