Abstract Research on primates in China started in the middle of the 19th century, and thrived from the 1980s to date. As a widely distributed non-human primate species worldwide, rhesus macaques (Macaca mulatta) was listed Grade 2 within Key Protected Wildlife of China. Researchers have published a cluster of works on macaques, including geographical distribution, population dynamics, food habits, social ecology, conservation ecology etc. In this paper, we reviewed the research advances in rhesus macaques in China. (1) geographical distribution and habitats: rhesus macaques occurred in 17 Provinces in China, and their habitats range from about 250 m a.s.l. to about 4000 m a.s.l. (2) populations and population increase: the current total population of rhesus macaques in China is about 96000 individuals. We have limited knowledge for population parameters of rhesus macaques except the Hainan macaques. (3) food habits: rhesus macaques in China feed on variety of food items which is in line with wide-spread distribution in various habitats; (4) activity rhythms: the published works mainly focused on the rhythm of foraging behavior, and showed that rhesus macaques exhibited two daily activity peaks; (5) reproductive ecology: rhesus macaques showed a seasonal reproduction pattern, and differed significantly in birth period, and lengths of pregnancy and lactation period between northernmost and southernmost populations. (6) social ecology: the society of rhesus macaques comprised multi-male and multi-female, based on matrilineal relationships. There were strict lineal dominance ranks among adult males and adult females, respectively. (7) behavior and behavioral ecology: researchers observed behaviors of rhesus macaques including calling, facial expression, and fighting. Ethnograms based on PAE (posture, action, environment) coding system have been established, which include 14 postures, 93 acts, 22 environments, and 121 behaviors that were categorized into 13 behavioral types. (8) conservation biology: researchers analyzed the population genetic diversity of rhesus macaques in China and some local areas, and provided support for local population protection. (9) sleeping site selection: a few studies examined sleeping site selection of rhesus macaques, and the results indicated that sleeping site selection was influenced by forest density, sheltering classes, slope gradients and climate. We put forward suggestions and implications for related studies in the near future.