This review aimed to systematically summarize the epidemiological literature on the cardiorespiratory effects of PM2.5 published during the 13th Five-Year Plan period (2016–2020) in China. Original articles published between January 1, 2016 and June 30, 2021 were searched in PubMed, Web of Science, the China National Knowledge Internet Database and Wanfang Database. Random- or fixed-effects models were used to pool effect estimates where appropriate. Of 8558 records identified, 145 met the full eligibility criteria. A 10 µg/m³ increase in short-term PM2.5 exposure was significantly associated with increases of 0.70%, 0.86%, 0.38% and 0.96% in cardiovascular mortality, respiratory mortality, cardiovascular morbidity, and respiratory morbidity, respectively. The specific diseases with significant associations included stroke, ischemic heart disease, heart failure, arrhythmia, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, pneumonia and allergic rhinitis. The pooled estimates per 10 µg/m³ increase in long-term PM2.5 exposure were 15.1%, 11.9% and 21.0% increases in cardiovascular, stroke and lung cancer mortality, and 17.4%, 11.0% and 4.88% increases in cardiovascular, hypertension and lung cancer incidence respectively. Adverse changes in blood pressure, heart rate variability, systemic inflammation, blood lipids, lung function and airway inflammation were observed for either short-term or long-term PM2.5 exposure, or both. Collectively, we summarized representative exposure-response relationships between short- and long-term PM2.5 exposure and a wide range of cardiorespiratory outcomes applicable to China. The magnitudes of estimates were generally smaller in short-term associations and comparable in long-term associations compared with those in developed countries. Our findings are helpful for future standard revisions and policy formulation. There are still some notable gaps that merit further investigation in China.