China's activities in promoting energy efficiency may have played a role in the reduction in total energyconsumption in the country since 1996. The decline in China's output and consumption of primary energyhas been driven by changes in China's most important fuel, coal. Estimated total primary energy use in1999 will be nearly 6% below the 1997 peak. Meanwhile, consumption of oil and electricity havecontinued to grow. On the supply side, China has undertaken a campaign to close or curtail production atthousands of coal mines. On the demand side, available evidence is not conclusive and data not alwaysreliable, but indicates that slowing economic growth and reform in the state-owned sector has led demandin industrial sectors users to drop due to closures and reductions in output. Households have continued theirrapid switch from coal to gas fuels and electricity. The average quality of coal may be increasing, allowingend users to use less. Moreover, across all sectors, equipment turnover has continuously raised efficiency.Many factors are behind the improvements in energy efficiency, including rising energy prices and generaleconomic growth stimulating purchases of new equipment. An essential element has been the continuingcommitment of the Chinese government to promoting energy efficiency, which is devoting considerableenergy to developing new policies and programs that will be effective under the changing conditions ofChina's transforming political economy. This paper describes developments in energy efficiency policy inChina over the past several years, particularly since the passage of the Energy Conservation Law (ECL) in1997.