This survey reviews the growing role and presence of China in the Island Pacific. As the late Professor Ron Crocombe remarked, in the Pacific a major transition is under way from a range of European to Asian influences. Many Western observers have viewed this rise of Asian, and specifically Chinese, influence with alarm, but Crocombe saw it as offering Pacific Islanders new opportunities. This paper first analyses the diversity that can be masked by terms such as China and the Pacific. Then it surveys recent literature on China in the Pacific and scholarship concerned with longer Chinese histories in the region that most recent commentators ignore and which question a number of their assertions. Finally, it suggests possible future directions for historical research on this topic.