You need to apply for a visa unless you meet the following visa exemption requirements:
1. According to bilateral agreements, citizens of some countries holding appropriate passports may enter China without a visa.
List of Agreements on Mutual Visa Exemption between China and Foreign Countries: http://cs.mfa.gov.cn/wgrlh/bgzl/P020140328398504621618.pdf
2. Citizens of Singapore, Brunei and Japan holding ordinary passports may enter China without a visa through the ports of entry open to foreigners provided that they come to China for tourism, family visit, business or transit, and intend to stay in China for no more than 15 days. However, the following personnel of these three countries must apply for a visa in advance if:
(1) They are holders of ordinary passports, and come to China for tourism, family visit or business, and intend to stay more than 15 days;
(2) They are holders of ordinary passports, and come to China for study, employment, permanent residence or on a news reporting mission; and
(3) They are holders of Japanese diplomatic and service (official) passports (according to the bilateral agreements, the diplomatic and service passport holders of Singapore, Brunei can stay in China for no more than 30 days without a Chinese visa).
3. Foreigners holding ordinary passports of the countries having diplomatic relations with China and on a tour to Hong Kong or Macao, and participating in group tours to the Zhu Jiang (Pearl River) Delta Area for a stay of no more than 6 days organized by the travel services legally registered in Hong Kong or Macao do not need to apply for a visa. The Zhu Jiang Delta Area refers to the administrative area of the following cities: Guangzhou, Shenzhen, Zhuhai, Foshan, Dongguan, Zhongshan, Jiangmen, Zhaoqing, and Huizhou. For going on a tour to Shantou, the aforementioned group is required to stay within the administrative area of Shantou and leave China from there directly.
4. Foreigners who have confirmed onward tickets and seats on international flights and directly transit through China and stay for no more than 24 hours within the airport boundaries do not need to apply for a transit visa. However, anyone desiring to go beyond the airport boundaries temporarily should obtain permission from the immigration authorities at the airport.
5. Citizens of 45 countries with valid international travel documents and air tickets for a connecting flight with confirmed date of flight and seat for a third country (region) can apply for the 72-hour transit visa exemption at ports of entry in Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou.
For details http://www.mps.gov.cn/n16/n84147/n84196/3912430.html.
6. Citizens holding ordinary passports of the following 21 countries and on a group tour (minimum of five persons) to Hainan Province for a stay of no longer than 15 days, organized by international travel services approved by the National Tourism Administration of China and registered in Hainan Province, do not need to apply for a visa: Malaysia, Thailand, the Philippines, Indonesia, the United Kingdom, France, Austria, Italy, Switzerland, Sweden, Spain, the Netherlands, the United States of America, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Finland, Denmark, Norway, Ukraine and Kazakhstan.
Citizens holding ordinary passports of the following three countries and on a group tour (minimum of two persons) to Hainan Province for a stay of no more than 21 days, organized by international travel services approved by the National Tourism Administration of China and registered in Hainan Province, do not need to apply for a visa: Republic of Korea, Germany and Russia.
7. Foreigners holding a valid Foreigner’s Permanent Residence Card of the PRC or Residence Permit for Foreigners in the PRC may enter China without a visa.
8. Foreigners holding an APEC Business Travel Card may enter China without a visa.