INTRODUCTION This chapter holds that a purely structural description of language without due attention to social and regional varieties is of very limited validity for Chinese, which comprises regional and non-regional dialects intertwined in use in a community strongly characterized by bilingualism and multilingualism. After a brief summary of the historical background and a short survey of recent developments in linguistic studies from sociolinguistic and autonomous perspectives, this chapter will go on to suggest a 'scalar parametric approach' to the description of Chinese syntax which attempts to reconcile the diversity and uniformity of Chinese (as displayed in certain syntactic structures of the language) through locating regional varieties along a parametric scale.