Emissions caused by the use of coal and by traffic have caused serious photochemical smog and aerosol pollution with unique characteristics in most Chinese cities. This report gives an overview of aerosol concentrations in China based on data obtained from both the literature and recent research by the authors. The results show that TSP (total suspended particulate) and PM-10 (particles with aerodynamic diameter 10 μm) concentrations frequently exceed the National Ambient Air Quality Standard and that ambient aerosol concentrations constitute a serious air pollution problem. PM-2.5 concentrations are also high and account for 60 % of the PM-10 mass. Organic carbon and sulfate are the most abundant components of PM-2.5, while crustal elements represent a minor portion. Nitrate concentrations are almost the same as sulfate in summertime, which implies that NOx control is very important in lowering fine particle concentrations and in improving air visibility. The chemical mass balance (CMB) method was applied in Beijing to identify the sources of PM-2.5. The main sources include fugitive dust, coal burning/industrial processes, traffic emissions, and secondary aerosol produced by atmospheric chemical conversion.