A 20 years hindcast, from 1996 to 2015, was performed to simulate the wave field in the China adjacent seas, including the Bohai Sea, Yellow Sea, East China Sea, as well as the northern South China Sea. Forced by CCMP V2.0 wind fields, the simulation was implemented on an unstructured SWAN model with refined spatial resolution in the continental shelf. Comparisons of significant wave height between simulations and JASON-2 altimetry measurements over the entire region and at fixed stations both show good agreement. The spatial distribution of wave energy flux was analysed on annual and monthly scales by its average values and the exploitable occurrences, the temporal variability of wave energy flux was quantified by the monthly variability index. Afterwards, taking jointly the geography restrictions on water depth and distance to shore into consideration, 12 hotspots were determined in the regions more eligible for wave energy harvesting in China. At these key locations, further sophisticated researches were conducted to investigate and compare the local wave energy and climate characteristics by means of the analysis on the storage of wave energy resource, operational, high and extreme wave conditions, the combined scatter and energy diagrams, as well as the wave energy roses.