Hosts Argentina also notched their second win, 1-0 against South Korea, and South Africa [ Images ] overcame Spain 2-1 with a wonder winner from Sulette Damons in two more tight Pool A matches.
Hannah McLeod's strike from a first-minute penalty corner put England on six points following their 3-2 win against Spain on Sunday, while China, who lost 2-1 to South Korea, are in danger of failing to reach the semi-finals.
China were frustrated by a strong England defence and solid performance from goalkeeper Beth Storry in a spirited contest that saw a raft of players sent off.
England captain Kate Walsh and China's Sun Sinan were both handed green cards (two minute send-offs), while Sun's team mate Fu Baorong was given a yellow card (five-minutes off).
Argentina went ahead early in the second half when Luciana Aymar shot from the right, the ball rose from goalkeeper Moon [ Images ] Young-hui's block and Carla Rebecchi hit it into the goal from waist height.
South Africa bounced back from their 5-2 loss to Argentina on Sunday to beat Spain thanks to Damon's wonder strike.
A high cross came into the Spain circle nine minutes from the end and Damons volleyed the ball into the net with her reverse stick. Spain protested to no avail against the high cross.