Deep vein thrombosis and pulmonary embolism is a well-recognised major health problem in the West. There is a deep-rooted belief among clinicians that deep vein thrombosis is rare in Asians, particularly in the Chinese population. However, it appears that the incidence of venous thrombosis and pulmonary embolism is increasing in Chinese patients. Prophylaxis reduces the incidence of venous thrombosis by 66% and of pulmonary embolism by 50%--- prophylaxis should therefore be considered for Chinese patients who have a high risk of developing postoperative deep vein thrombosis. This report reviews the current literature on this subject.