Background: The recent guidelines for depressive disorders in China are based on both the first edition published in 2003, and new scientific evidence reviewed until the end of 2014. The purpose of the guidelines is to provide a comprehensive overview of the scientific evidence for the diagnosis and treatment of depressive disorders for Chinese patients. Methods: The data used in the guidelines were extracted from the recent literature, and various international treatment guidelines. Results: The current (second) guidelines are based on both evidence-based and measurement-based approaches. Comprehensive and regular assessments with standard instruments are recommended in the acute, continuation, and maintenance treatment phases, and the stage prior to the termination of treatment. In order to reduce the risk of relapse, the new guidelines are extended to the entire course of treatment. Recommendations for pharmacotherapeutic and other treatment modalities are described in detail. Conclusions: Although major advances have been made compared to the 2003 edition of the guidelines, more intensive research is needed to optimize diagnosis and treatment of depressive disorders in China. The new guidelines provide only recommendations for diagnosis and treatment, therefore clinicians should develop individualized treatment plans along the lines of the comprehensive information obtained from patients and their families.