Rock mechanics, as a new modern discipline. has been developing healthily on the right track in China. From the very beginning, importance has been attached to the combination of geology and engineering. and characteristics of "rock mass" as well. This paper lists a number of current hot research subjects on rock mechanics in China, including the macroscopic/microscopic, multilevel and variable dimension studies; coupling analysis; status correlation analysis arrack mechanics' parameters; theory and method of uncertainty; nonlinear d~nami~s and comprehensive intelligence analysis; new algorithm of numerical simulation and integrated control and study of geological disasters, etc. some recent large-scale rock engineering applications in China are also provided in this papel. It points out that in the new century, the circles of rock mechanics in China will face challenges under the situation of sustainable economic and social development and the "West Development" in China. Therefore, the research directions should be adjusted in the aspects of environmental issues, sustainable development in mining, utilization of underground space and construction of tectonically active regions in the west. In the meanwhile, new research fields should be opened to solve problems of rock mechanics at further depths.
The development of rock mechanics covers contributions to the theory on rock mechanics and innovations and contributions in rock engineering practices. After experiencing the initial stages of formation and development, the rock mechanics is now entering a perfect and mature stage. From the very beginning, the circles of rock mechanics in China paid attention to the combination of geology and engineering, attached importance to characteristics of rock mass. The rock mechanics has always been developing healthily on the right track. Just like many other new modern disciplines, the formation and development of rock mechanics can't be separated from engineering construction and exploitation of mineral resources. That is to say, the development of rock mechanics can't be made without the need of social and economic development. Starting from the 1980's, especially the 1990's, China started its 2"" high tide of economic construction. and Yellow River Xiaolangdi hydropower projects; Fangezhuang and Pingshuo modern coal mines; and Dayawan and Qinshan nuclear power stations, etc. These projects raised a lot of severe questions on rock mechanics to Chinese researchers in this field, such as, the rock mass stability of roof and floor when mining above the high-pressure aquifers in deep mines; the rock mass stability of high slope; rock burst of underground chamber in high ground stress areas and permeability of rock mass where nuclear wastes are stored, etc. Rock mechanics has been developed as a modern discipline and an industry, as embodied in the achievements in theory, continuous innovation in engineering practice and contributions to engineering design and construction, Permeation of modem science and technology (mainly modern mathematical science, modern seienti fie methodology and modern information technology) plays an important role in the development of rock mechanics in China.