Several academic institutes and companies in China launched a set of principles to guide the development and use of artificial intelligence (AI) that is beneficial for humankind and nature. The Beijing AI Principles were endorsed by the Beijing Academy of Artificial Intelligence (BAAI), Peking University, Tsinghua University, Institute of Automation and Institute of Computing Technology in Chinese Academy of Sciences, and several large companies including Baidu, Alibaba and Tencent. The 15 principles call for the development of AI which promotes progress and sustainable development, serves humanity, and is aligned with human values. AI researchers and developers should consider the potential ethical, legal and social impacts of AI, ensure the safety and security of AI systems, and design these systems in such a way that they reflect diversity and inclusiveness. Moreover, ethical design approaches should be taken to ensure that AI systems are trustworthy. Other principles refer to the 'wise and proper' use of AI, and the need to ensure that users are well informed about the impact of AI applications on their rights and interests. The governance of AI should ensure that the technology is beneficial to society, but also be supportive of innovation. Lastly, stakeholders are invited to cooperate in order to develop a cross-sectoral and global comprehensive AI governance system 'to avoid malicious AI race'.