This season returned to 16 contestants on two initial tribes, Fei Long (飞龙) and Zhan Hu (战虎), meaning Flying Dragon and Fighting Tiger respectively. On Day 13, each tribe switched two contestants. On Day 19, the tribes merged into Hae Da Fung (黑大风), which means Great Black Wind, a name proposed by Peih-Gee Law (who happened to be Chinese herself).
This season was dominated by the Fei Long Alliance, who used their numbers to eliminate any castaways aligned with Zhan Hu.
In the end, there was a Final Three. However, there was only a jury of seven. All three final contestants received votes, but Todd Herzog was crowned Sole Survivor after garnering four votes, as opposed to Courtney Yates's two and Amanda Kimmel's one.
Producers were given an "unprecedented access" to several Chinese monuments and landmarks, and they incorporated many aspects of China's vast culture into the game (design of campsites, challenge concepts, Tribal Council set, etc.). Before they made it to their camps, the contestants took part in a non-religious Buddhist ceremony. After the ceremony, both tribes received a copy of Sun Tzu's The Art of War which would help them in winning challenges and conquering the other tribe.
The season was said to be the first US show to be entirely shot in China.
For this season's rendition of Ancient Voices, Russ Landau commissioned an all-female Chinese choir in Beijing to translate the Russian folk song Poidu Vyidu na Ulitsu ("I'll go and get outside"; the reference material of Ancient Voices) into Mandarin and added a Chinese folk song to the edit.
- Hidden Immunity Idol: During this season, the tribe's idols were hidden in plain sight as one of the two plaques on the pagota gate outside each tribe's camps.
- Kidnapping: The kidnapping twist from Survivor: Pearl Islands and Survivor: All-Stars returned. However, unlike the two former seasons, the kidnapped player was not granted immunity. Starting with the episode "My Mom Is Going to Kill Me!", whichever tribe won the Reward Challenge would kidnap a member from the losing tribe to stay at their camp until the next Immunity Challenge. The kidnapped player would give a tube containing clues to the Hidden Immunity Idol to a tribe member from the opposing side for an idol at their camp.
- Tribe Switch: On Day 13, both tribes were told to send two warriors from each tribe who would be sent to the opposite tribe.
- Final Three: For the third consecutive season, three castaways would face the jury instead of the usual two.
|Original Tribe||Switched Tribe||Merged Tribe|
47, Marion, VA
|Zhan Hu|| 1st Voted Out|
28, East Northport, NY
|Zhan Hu|| 2nd Voted Out|
38, Tega Cay, SC
Christian Radio Host
|Fei Long|| 3rd Voted Out|
37, Simi Valley, CA
|Zhan Hu|| 4th Voted Out|
32, Venice, CA
|Fei Long||Zhan Hu|| 5th Voted Out|
25, Atlanta, GA
|Zhan Hu||Fei Long|| 6th Voted Out|
22, Columbia, SC
|Zhan Hu||Zhan Hu||Hae Da Fung|| 7th Voted Out|
1st Jury Member
36, Las Vegas, NV
Professional Poker Player
|Fei Long||Fei Long|| 8th Voted Out|
2nd Jury Member
20, Chicago, IL
|Zhan Hu||Fei Long|| 9th Voted Out|
3rd Jury Member
30, Lafayette, LA
|Fei Long||Zhan Hu|| 10th Voted Out|
4th Jury Member
26, Nashville, TN
|Zhan Hu||Zhan Hu|| 11th Voted Out|
5th Jury Member
29, Marina del Rey, CA
|Zhan Hu||Zhan Hu|| 12th Voted Out|
6th Jury Member
40, Douglas, MA
School Lunch Lady
|Fei Long||Fei Long|| 13th Voted Out|
7th Jury Member
22, Los Angeles, CA
|Fei Long||Fei Long|| Second|
26, New York City, NY
|Fei Long||Fei Long||Runner-Up||0|
22, Pleasant Grove, UT
|Fei Long||Fei Long||Sole Survivor||5|
The two tribes, Fei Long and Zhan Hu, were predetermined prior to the start of the game. Exile Island was abandoned for this season and instead, an added bonus for winning Reward Challenges was that the winning tribe was given the opportunity to kidnap a member from the losing tribe, where they would live at the winning tribe's camp until the next Immunity Challenge. This person would receive a container with a clue to the Hidden Immunity Idol that they had to give to one of the winning tribe members.
Fei Long held a slight edge thanks to the strength of James Clement and leadership of Aaron Reisberger. A strong alliance had been formed on Fei Long between Aaron, Todd Herzog, Amanda Kimmel, and Courtney Yates. On Day 14, each tribe, separately, selected two members of the other tribe to bring into theirs; Fei Long selected Sherea Lloyd and Frosti Zernow, while Zhan Hu selected James and Aaron. Believing that James and Aaron would remain true to the other Fei Long members when the merge occurred, Jaime Dugan and Peih-Gee Law formed a plan to lose the next Immunity Challenge on purpose so that they would be able to remove the former Fei Longs from the game. Zhan Hu would end up losing the challenge, and subsequently removed Aaron from the game.
Todd had been working to find the Hidden Immunity Idol. At the next Reward Challenge on Day 16, Fei Long won, and selected to kidnap James. With the clue from James, Todd deduced the idol's location: one of two plaques on the standing pagoda gate near camp, and recovered it. He then gave this idol to James, and instructed him that the same clues would apply at the Zhan Hu camp, so that James would be able to possess both idols. Todd's plan required Fei Long to win the next Immunity Challenge, which would force Zhan Hu to Tribal Council; while the other members would target James, he would have been able to use one of the idols to deflect the vote and remove a Zhan Hu member. However, Fei Long lost the challenge, and instead.
The tribes merged on Day 19, with the former Fei Longs holding a 6–4 advantage. Amanda became concerned that James would not give back one of the two idols, and worked with her other tribe members to blindside him, with James leaving the game with the two idols still in his possession. The remaining Fei Long held on to their lead, comprising the final four. Todd, Amanda, and Courtney's alliance held strong and the three went to the end of the game.
At the Final Tribal Council, Amanda was lambasted for apologizing too much and not giving reasons to the jury as to why she chose to vote them out, nor even admitting to ever lying to them, Courtney was criticized for her personality, while Todd was accused for being manipulative and deceitful. Ultimately Todd defeated Courtney and Amanda in a 4-2-1 vote to become the Sole Survivor
|Episode||Air date||Challenges||Kidnapped|| Eliminated|
|Finish||Viewers (in millions)||Rating/Share (18-49)|
|1||"A Chicken's a Little Bit Smarter"||September 20, 2007|| |
| 1st Voted Out|
|2||"My Mom Is Going to Kill Me!"||September 27, 2007|| |
| 2nd Voted Out|
|3||"I Lost Two Hands and Possibly a Shoulder"||October 4, 2007|| |
| 3rd Voted Out|
|4||"Ride the Workhorse Till the Tail Falls Off"||October 11, 2007|| |
| 4th Voted Out|
|5||"Love Is in the Air"||October 18, 2007||None|| |
| 5th Voted Out|
|6||"That's Love, Baby! It Makes You Strong!"||October 25, 2007|| |
| 6th Voted Out|
|7||"I'm Not as Dumb as I Look"||November 1, 2007||None|| |
| 7th Voted Out|
1st Jury Member
|8||"High School Friend Contest"||November 8, 2007|| |
| 8th Voted Out|
2nd Jury Member
|9||"Just Don't Eat the Apple"||November 15, 2007|| |
| 9th Voted Out|
3rd Jury Member
|10||"It's Been Real and It's Been Fun"||November 22, 2007||Recap Episode||N/A||N/A|
|11||"Ready to Bite the Apple"||November 29, 2007|| |
| 10th Voted Out|
4th Jury Member
|12||"Going for the Oscar"||December 6, 2007|| |
| 11th Voted Out|
5th Jury Member
|13||"Hello, I'm Still a Person"||December 13, 2007|| |
| 12th Voted Out|
6th Jury Member
|14||"A Slippery Little Sucker"||December 16, 2007|| |
| 13th Voted Out|
7th Jury Member
|Jury Vote|| Amanda|
^1 Combined Reward and Immunity Challenge.
|Survivor: China Voting History|
|Original Tribes||Switched Tribes||Merged Tribe|
|Voted out:|| |
- This is the only 16-castaway season to have a Final Three face the jury.
- With an age average of 30.125 years among its castaways, China has the second youngest age average of all seasons. ("Ghost Island" is the youngest with an average age of 28)
- Both China and Survivor: Philippines had Hidden Immunity Idols "hidden in plain sight", with China's being a plaque-shaped ornament while Philippines' being the rice container handle.
- This is the first season to use a variation on "Outwit, Outplay, Outlast". The Chinese words used in their place translate to "compete in intelligence, compete in skill, compete in endurance" as a rough translation.
- This season had the first instance of a contestant (Jaime Dugan) trying to play an item at Tribal Council believed to be a Hidden Immunity Idol, but turning out not to be.
- Once this season reached the jury phase, the opening introductory montage no longer showed all the contestants in the game. The montage showed the players in "the jury" first, followed by the ones in the "Merged Tribe." Prior to this, all seasons had shown all the players in the intro in all episodes.
- This season has the smallest amount of people voted out in a season without any evacuations, quits, or eliminations.
- CBS gave this season's Immunity Idol to actor Neil Patrick Harris, an avid reality TV fan, for his 37th birthday.
- This is the first season in which only castaways who switched tribes were eliminated after a tribe switch.
- This is the first season not to include Exile Island since its introduction.
- This is the first season with a Final Three in which all three finalists received jury votes.
- This season has the overall youngest final three at the time of recording.
- ↑ https://web.archive.org/web/20081226050607/http://abcmedianet.com/web/dnr/dispDNR.aspx?id=092308_04
- ↑ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MKBFfx-3YtY
- ↑ http://www.spottedratings.com/2011/12/spotvault-survivor-cbs-fall-2007.html
- ↑ Dehnart, Andy (June 21, 2010). "Neil Patrick Harris got Survivor China's Immunity Idol from CBS". Reality Blurred. http://www.realityblurred.com/realitytv/archives/survivor_china/2010_Jun_21_neil_patrick_harris_idol. Retrieved February 19, 2012.
|Survivor (US) Seasons|
Borneo • The Australian Outback • Africa • Marquesas • Thailand • The Amazon • Pearl Islands • All-Stars • Vanuatu • Palau • Guatemala • Panama • Cook Islands • Fiji • China • Micronesia • Gabon • Tocantins • Samoa • Heroes vs. Villains • Nicaragua • Redemption Island • South Pacific • One World • Philippines • Caramoan • Blood vs. Water • Cagayan • San Juan del Sur • Worlds Apart • Cambodia • Kaôh Rōng • Millennials vs. Gen X • Game Changers • Heroes vs. Healers vs. Hustlers • Ghost Island • David vs. Goliath • Edge of Extinction • Island of the Idols • Winners at War