We report the clinical and genetic characterization of two Chinese LHON families who do not carry the primary LHON-mutations. Mitochondrial genome sequence analysis revealed the presence of a homoplasmic ND1 G3635A mutation in both families. In Family LHON-001, 31 other variants belonging to the East Asian haplogroup R11a were identified and in Family LHON-019, 37 other variants belonging to the East Asian haplogroup D4g were determined. The ND1 G3635A mutation changes the conversed serine110 residue to asparagine. This mutation has been previously described in a single Russian LHON family and has been suggested to contribute to increased LHON expressivity. In addition, a mutation in cytochrome c oxidase subunit II at C7868T (COII/L95F) may act in synergy with G3635A, increasing LHON expressivity in Family LHON-001, which had a higher level of LHON penetrance than Family LHON-019. In summary, the G3635A mutation is confirmed as a rare primary pathogenic mutation for LHON.