Since the concept of emerging contaminants (ECs) was first proposed in 2001, the global scientific research of ECs has developed rapidly. In the past decades, great progress has been achieved in the scientific research of ECs in China, including the establishment of EC analysis method system, the evaluation of the pollution status, pollution characteristics and environmental risk of ECs in typical regions of China, and establishment of EC control technology system. Continuous progress in scientific research of ECs promoted China’s action on EC control. It is planned that the environmental risk of ECs will be generally controlled by 2035 in China. Priority ECs should be screened for environmental management. Although great efforts have been made, the EC control in China still faces tremendous challenges. It is necessary to bridge the gap between scientific research and decision-making management. Based on the science and technology study, various measures such as engineering, policy management and public participation should be combinedly adopted for EC control.