The policy reform in China, which was adopted 20 years ago, has greatly boosted the country's economic development as a whole, but has in the process widened the economic gaps between the eastern and western part of the country. This paper examines the existing disparities between China's two regions, particularly the eastern and western part in terms of average life expectancy, infant mortality, and causes of death relative to its realization in achieving sustainable development. It is evident that the level of life expectancy in western China in the early 1990s did not measure up to the level of the early 1970s in the eastern provinces. Average life expectancy in the eastern provinces ranged over 70 years in 1990 with its infant mortality rate registering between 8.8 and 29.2 per 1000, whereas the life expectancy in the western areas ranged below the national average of 68.6 years and 37.3-96.2 per 1000 for its infant mortality rate. In the context of the causes of death, poverty-related and infectious diseases are considered as the main causes for the disparity between the eastern and western China in mortality rates. Level of socioeconomic development; population development; poor sanitary condition; poor health-care facilities; and adverse natural conditions and a fragile ecological environment are the compounding factors for these disparities. Several recommendations for decision-makers in implementing strategies to achieve sustainable development are presented.