Nations women's soccer tournament here on Friday.
Chinese assistant coach Wang Haiming, who took place of ailing head coach Ma Liangxing during the tournament, brought on a new starting line-up with five young players.
England left their two major strikers: Arsenal's Rachel Yankey and Leeds United's Eniola Aluko on the bench.
Midfielder Zhang Ying put the hosts ahead on fifth minute with a sharp shot at the edge of the area. Han Duan doubled the advantage one minute from the interval when she headed home a cross at the far post.
England threatened China on the flanks. Right midfielder Karen Carney made some fine dribbling to carve open their opponent's defence.
England went close from a scrimmage inside the box in the 38th minute, only to find their efforts cleared by a defender timely from the goal line.
England pushed forward in the second half and piled on the pressure, but could not create any clear chance.
Liu Sa nearly added another for China five minutes before the final whistle when the young striker got a fine through pass from Liu Huana inside the area and rounded the keeper, but missed the empty net from small angle.