Commercial exploitation of freshwater turtles and tortoises has increased significantly in China since the 1990s, which has expedited the listing of some turtle species in Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) Appendix II. We assessed the risk to tortoises and freshwater turtles native to China by analyzing biological and socio-economic variables. The Principal Component Analysis model with VARIMAX rotation was used to categorize these species into groups. We found that many turtles in significant trade are at high risk of overexploitation. Except for Pelodiscus sinensis and Mauremys reevesii, most tortoises and freshwater turtles are classified in the same group and have similar risks. Listing several (but not all) chelonian species in the CITES Appendices will not resolve the chelonian trade crisis because many species may be substituted in trade. We recommend listing more Chinese turtles in the CITES Appendices.