With China's rapid economic growth, chemical-related environmental issues have become increasingly prominent, and the environmental management of chemicals has garnered increased attention from the government. This review focuses on the current situation and the application of risk assessment in China's environmental management of industrial chemicals. The related challenges and research needs of the country are also discussed. The Chinese government promulgated regulations for the import and export of toxic chemicals in 1994. Regulations for new chemical substances came into force in 2003, and were revised in 2010 based on the concept of risk management. In order to support the implementation of new regulations, Guidance for Risk Assessment of Chemicals is under development in an attempt to provide the concepts and techniques of risk assessment. With increasing concern and financial support from Chinese government, China is embarking on the fast track of research and development in environmental management of industrial chemicals.