This article provides a historical account of Chinese public policy on fisheries subsidies, and a discussion of problems and limitations resulting from the World Trade Organization (WTO) Doha Round fisheries subsidies negotiation. By analyzing subsidization trends and applying a proportional assessment of subsidized areas, the article tracks the evolvement of Chinese fishery policy objective and priorities. Chinese fishery is not historically significantly subsidized in light of its relatively market-oriented structure and a sustained momentum in reducing marine capture capacity. However, due to the commitment to encouraging qualitative growth and to satisfying a rising domestic demand for fish, the government seeks for adequate policy space to employ fuel, distant water fisheries, infrastructure and various ‘green light’ subsidies. Whether or not such a claim can be accepted as a developmental right not an exception remains to be answered by the revision of current negotiation draft.