Cervical cancer continues to be a serious public health problem in the developing world, including China. Because of its large population with geographical and socioeconomic inequities, China has a high burden of cervical cancer and important disparities among different regions. In this review, we first present an overview of the cervical cancer incidence and mortality over time, and focus on diversity and disparity in access to care for various subpopulations across geographical regions and socioeconomic strata in China. Then, we describe population-based cervical cancer screening in China, and in particular implementation of the National Cervical Cancer Screening Program in Rural Areas (NACCSPRA) and the challenges that this program faces. These include low screening coverage, shortage of qualified health care personnel and limited funds. To improve prevention of cervical cancer and obtain better cancer outcomes, the Chinese government needs to urgently consider the following key factors: reducing disparities in health care access, collecting accurate and broadly representative data in cancer registries, expanding target population size and increasing allocation of government funding for training of personnel, improving health education for women, enhancing quality control of screening services and improving a system to increase follow up for women with positive results.