Little national data are available on Chinese physicians' welfare, wellness, and job satisfaction. We conducted a self‐administered smartphone‐based national survey in early 2016 of 17 945 physicians from 136 tertiary hospitals across 31 provinces in China. In addition to collecting the physicians' basic information, we also measured 5 domains (the ethical and working environments, welfare, wellness, and job satisfaction). Half of the physicians reported a hospital‐based annual income of less than RMB 72 000 ($10 300), and 60.31% of them did not think that the current medical pricing system reflects physicians' value. More than half (58.64%) of them did not have or did not know about medical malpractice insurance. These physicians worked long hours (an average of 10 h) and slept short hours (average 6 h). Only 35.78% of them thought that they were in good health, and 51.03% were in good mental health. Approximately, a quarter of them had helped to pay medical bills for patients who could not afford care, and 1 in 7 has been penalised for seeing patients who generated bad debts. Only 33.42% of them thought that their occupation receives social recognition and respect, and 70.98% would not encourage their children to pursue a medical career. The top 3 factors that may influence physician job satisfaction as chosen by the physicians were as follows: (1) the income distribution policy (45.92%), (2) working environment safety (25.86%), and (3) public trust and respect for their job (16.10%). In conclusion, we found that Chinese physicians bear heavy physical, mental, and financial stress, and many of them lack confidence that they receive trust and respect from society.