The net primary production (NPP) of Chinese terrestrial vegetation in 1997 was estimated based on the CASA model. The geographic distribution of NPP was explored using GIS and remote sensing imagery (NOAA/AVHRR), together with spatial data on vegetation, climate, soil type and solar radiation. The model estimates China’s terrestrial NPP in 1997 as 1.95 Pg C, or about 4.0% of the worlds terrestrial total. NPP decreased from southeast China toward the northwest. Southern Hainan Island, Southwestern Yunnan and Southeastern Tibet showed large NPP values, with the value exceeding 900 g C•m–2•a–1, whereas the Takelamagan desert located in western China had very small values—less than 10 g C•m–2•a–1.