Many of the systems which had protected vulnerable children in China have broken down, but China has not developed a modern child protection system. We present initial findings from a project which investigates responses to child abuse and the potential for developing a comprehensive protection process. The research found that physical chastisement is commonly practised. Other forms of maltreatment tend to be denied. There are no mechanisms to report abuse and no organisation taking a lead in child protection. Furthermore, there is great reluctance by professionals and the public to identify or report child abuse and neglect.