The Journal of Chinese Studies is managed by an editorial board headed by a chairman who serves as chief editor and assisted by an associate chief editor. Past chairmen included Professor Ch'uan Han-sheng (1968–78), Professor D. C. Lau (1979–94), Professor Chan Hok-lam (1995–2011), Professor H. Samuel Cheung (2011–14), and Professor Wang Fan-sen (2014–16). The current chief editor is Professor Lai Chi Tim. He is appointed by the Director of the Institute of Chinese Studies.
The Journal was founded in September 1968 under the name of The Journal of the Institute of Chinese Studies of The Chinese University of Hong Kong; 22 volumes had been published under this title. It was superseded by the current title, in 1992, and the inaugural issue was designated the commemorative volume of the twenty-fifth anniversary of the Institute. Volumes 2–10 carried two parts; subsequent volumes were published in a single volume until 2009. From 2010 onwards, it is published biannually, in January and July. Earlier volumes carried articles in both Chinese and English, but in recent years there have been fewer English language contributions.
The time frame of coverage and subject-matters of the scholarly articles being published over the past decades vary widely, ranging from the prehistorical era to modern and contemporary China, and from archaeology, ancient artifacts and documents, classical, modern and contemporary literature, philosophy and history, Buddhist, Taoist and other religious traditions and thought, epigraphy, etymology, phonology, the arts and music, science and technology, architecture, medicine, literary and popular culture, cultural development and changes, to historical and contemporary personages, political, social and economic history, Sino-foreign political, intellectual and cultural relations, and sundry others. In short, they run the gamut of Chinese history and civilization from the earliest times to the present. All manuscripts are subject to blind peer review and to the editorial discretion of the editors.