Based on the seismic data gathered in past years and the correlation between the sea and land areas of the Lower Yangtze Platform, the structural characteristics of the South Yellow Sea Basin since the Indosinian tectonic movement is studied in this paper. Three stages of structural deformation can be distinguished in the South Yellow Sea Basin since the Indosinian. The first stage, Late Indosinian to Early Yanshanian, was dominated by foreland deformation including both the uplifting and subsidence stages under an intensively compressional environment. The second stage, which is called the Huangqiao Event in the middle Yanshanian, was a change for stress fields from compression to extension. While in the third stage (the Sanduo Event) in the Late Himalayan, the basin developed a depression in the Neogene-Quaternary after rifting in the Late Cretaceous-Paleogene. The long-time evolution controlled 3 basin formation stages from a foreland basin, then a fault basin to a final depression basin. In conclusion, since the Indosinian, the South Yellow Sea Basin has experienced compressional fold and thrust, collisional orogen, compressional and tensional pulsation, strike-slip, extensional fault block and inversion structures, compression and convergence. The NE, NEE, nearly EW and NW trending structures developed in the basin. From west to east, the structural trend changed from NEE to near EW to NW. While from north to south, they changed from NEE to near EW with a strong-weak-strong zoning sequence. Vertically, the marine and terrestrial facies basins show a " seesaw” pattern with fold and thrust in the early stages, which is strong in the north and weak in the south and an extensional fault in later stages, which is strong in the north and weak in the south. In the marine facies basin, thrust deformation is more prevailing in the upper structural layer than that in the lower layer. The tectonic mechanism in the South Yellow Sea Basin is mainly affected by the collision between the Yangtze and North China Block, while the stress environment of large-scale strike-slip faults was owing to subduction of the Paleo-Pacific plate. The southern part of the Laoshan uplift is a weak deformation zone as well as a stress release zone, and the Meso-Paleozoic had been weakly reformed in later stages. The southern part of the Laoshan uplift is believed, therefore, to be a promising area for oil and gas exploration.