In this paper, we first review the development of China's Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) system in the past 30 years. Then we compare the framework and operational procedures of China's new EIA law with those of the EU EIA Directive. We also compare public participation, as well as sanctions and control in the two EIA systems. In addition, we identify where the processes in both EIA systems are similar or different from one another. By comparison, we noted that there are at least three obvious weaknesses in China's EIA system: (1) the application of new models for EIA legislation; (2) the improvement of EIA guidance and education; and (3) the enhancement of public participation in EIA process. Our study indicates that these three major shortcomings should be overcome and improved in China's EIA system, when compared with the EU EIA system.