There is increasing acknowledgement of the need to lighten the academic burden on Chinese primary and secondary students because it affects the quality of their education and well-being. This study investigates recent education policies to analyse how the problem of academic burden is framed in these policies and how they attempt to solve it. In this study, Carol Bacchi’s theory of the construction of policy problems and Paul Preuss’ theory of root cause analysis were utilised to provide a productive way to interpret the problem and causes of the academic burden. The data reveal larger social issues related to Chinese educational values perceived by different stakeholders and educational equity necessitating the lightening of academic burden. Therefore, policymakers need to consider the complexity of educational change to effectively reduce the academic burden.