In this article, we examine processes of ethical deliberation, legislative developments, and social and political factors that have contributed to the emergence of human embryo gene editing as a field of life science research in China. For this purpose, we examine conceptions of the legal status of the human embryo in three domains of China’s legal system: in patent law, in the jurisdictional domain of birth control, and in civil law. Each of these legal domains handles a different conception of the human embryo’s moral and legal status, and in all three the embryo’s status is contested and subject to changes. Our findings suggest that definitions of the legal status of the human embryo in China are at present in the midst of a renegotiation progress, which is driven by a variety of developments and causes. In this paper, we focus on three types of controversies that underlie this renegotiation process and we illustrate the conflicting aspirations, ethical arguments, and moral priorities that inform these conflicts. We end this article with three lines of consideration that might structure future studies on this issue.