The development of cotton pest management practices in China has followed a pattern seen for many crops that rely heavily on insecticides. Helicoverpa armigera resistance to chemical pesticides resulted in the unprecedented pest densities of the early 1990s. Transgenic cotton that expresses a gene derived from the bacterium Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) has been deployed for combating H. armigera since 1997. The pest management tactics associated with Bt cotton have resulted in a drastic reduction in insecticide use, which usually results in a significant increase in populations of beneficial insects and thus contributes to the improvement of the natural control of some pests. Risk assessment analyses show that the natural refuges derived from the mixed-planting system of cotton, corn, soybean, and peanut on small-scale, single-family-owned farms play an important function in delaying evolution of cotton bollworm resistance, and that no trend toward Bt cotton resistance has been apparent despite intensive planting of Bt cotton over the past several years.