The aim of this study was to establish a nationwide antimicrobial resistant surveillance network and obtain information on bacterial resistance in China. A total of 4075 clinical bacterial isolates were collected from 17 hospitals in 15 cities throughout China. Antibacterial minimal inhibitory concentrations (MICs) were determined by the standard agar dilution method recommended by Clinical and Laboratory Standards Institute. The results of the MICs revealed the following bacterial resistance characteristics. Oxacillin resistance was shown by 62.9% of Staphylococcus aureus and 82.89% of Staphylococcus epidermidis strains. Penicillin non-sensitivity was show by 40.7% of the Streptococcus pneumoniae strains, which included 10.5% penicillin-resistant strains and 30.2% penicillin-intermediate strains. Five strains of Enterococci were vancomycin-intermediate, but all Enterococci strains were sensitive to teicoplanin. All Staphylococci were susceptible to glycopeptides. A high resistance to macrolides was a predominant characteristic of the Gram-positive cocci. Enterobacteriaceae strains were clearly resistant to the third generation cephalosporins, with the exception of ceftazidime, and the resistance rates ranged from 20 to 70%. About 65% of the Escherichia coli strains were resistant to fluoroquinolones. Carbapenems remained highly active against all the target bacteria. Latamoxef, piperacillin/tazobactam, cefoperazone/sulbactam and cefepime were all active against Enterobacteriaceae, which showed resistant rates of less than 10%. Imipenem resistance was found in 10.6% of Pseudomonas aeruginosa and 10.4% of Acinetobacter baumannii strains, most of which were multidrug resistant isolates. Combinations of beta-lactam/beta-lactamase inhibitor and fluoroquinolones also had potent antibacterial activity against non-fermenters. Amikacin was active against Enterobacteriaceae and P. aeruginosa. In conclusion, methicillin-resistant Staphylococci, penicillin-insensitive S. pneumoniae, macrolides-resistant Gram-positive cocci, cephalosporin-resistant Enterobacteriaceae, multidrug-resistant nonfermenters and fluoroquinolone-resistant E. coli were revealed to be the most serious problems in terms of bacteria resistance in China. No glycopeptides-resistant Staphylococcus strains were isolated, and the appearance of glycopeptides-resistant Enterococci was seldom.