In the fringe of an eighteen-day trip through the People’s Republic of China in June 1977 (route: Canton, Changsha, Shaoshan, Nanchang, Hangchou, Shanghai, Peking, largely by train), observations were made of the avifauna. From these I obtained the following superficial impressions: (1) Compared to western European cities the Chinese cities have very few bird species. The only species seen were House Swift in Canton, Swift in Peking and Tree Sparrow in every city visited. (2) The countryside is equally poor in species, especially in seed-eaters as compared to insect-eaters. Some common species: Swallow, Long-tailed and other Shrike species (Central China), Magpie Robin (South China) and Redrumped Swallow (Great Wall). (3) The hilly and sparsely populated areas are far richer in birds than the nearly desolate river values in Central and South China and the low plains in the North. Although the low total number of species observed (30 at most) is at least partly due to restricted opportunities for bird-watching, if seems to indicate a general bird scarcity in the visited, largely cultivated parts of China, especially if compared to impressions obtained during visits to Hongkong and the People’s Republic of Mongolia. It is concluded that the high opinions of many persons about nature conservation in China are to be distrusted, at least for the moment.