We present a new, biostratigraphically calibrated organic and inorganic C-isotope record spanning the basal Late Permian to earliest Triassic from southern Guizhou (Nanpanjiang basin, South China). After fluctuations of a likely diagenetic overprint are removed, three negative carbon isotope excursions (CIEs) persist. These include a short-lived CIE during the early Wuchiapingian, a protracted CIE ending shortly after the Wuchiapingian–Changhsingian Boundary, and a third CIE straddling the Permian–Triassic boundary. Comparison of our new C-isotope record with others from the same basin suggests that influences of local bathymetry and of the amount of buried terrestrial organic matter are of importance. Comparison with other coeval time series outside of South China also highlights that only the negative CIE at the Permian–Triassic boundary is a global signal. These differences can be explained by the different volumes of erupted basalts between the Late Permian Emeishan and the younger Siberian large igneous provinces and their distinct eruptive modalities. Emeishan volcanism was largely submarine, implying that sea water was an efficient buffer against atmospheric propagation of volatiles. The equatorial position of Emeishan was also an additional obstacle for volatiles to reach the stratosphere and benefit from an efficient global distribution. Consequently, the local significance of these CIEs calls into question global correlations based on C-isotope chemostratigraphy during the Late Permian. The timing of the Late Permian Chinese CIEs is also not reflected in changes in species diversity or ecology, unlike the sudden and global Permian–Triassic boundary crisis and subsequent Early Triassic upheavals.