The precipitation variability associated with the East Asian summer monsoon (EASM) has profound societal implications. Here, we use precisely dated and seasonally-resolved stalagmite oxygen isotope (δ 18O) records from Shihua Cave, North China to reconstruct the EASM variability over the last 145 years. Our record shows a remarkable weakening of the EASM strength since the 1880s, which may be causally linked to the warming of the tropical Pacific and Indian Oceans. The δ 18O record also exhibits a significant ~30-year periodicity, consistent with the instrumental, historical and proxy-based rainfall records from North China, plausibly driven by the Pacific Decadal Oscillation (PDO). Together, these observations imply that ~30-year periodicity is a persistent feature of the EASM, which remains significant with or without anthropogenic forcing. If indeed, the EASM rainfall in North China might decline significantly in the near future, which may affect millions of people in this region.