The English language, as a vital foreign language, has received considerable attention in the last 25 years in education in the People's Republic of China. Moreover, with the development of second language acquisition theories in these years, more theories and ideologies have been introduced into China. Autonomous learning is an important case in point. When the idea of "autonomous learning" was brought into EFL teaching and learning at the beginning of the 1990s, some Chinese scholars accepted the concept without any critical thought of its application in a Chinese context, which results in an increasing blurring of its boundaries. This paper first gives an overview of the development of autonomous learning in the PRC, and then moves to present the model of English language learning and teaching by using autonomous learning theory within the Chinese context. Finally, it utilizes information that leads to suggestions and recommendations to university staff, students and SAC managers in the PRC.