1. Following rapid economic development in China, the epidemiological characteristics, management and prevention strategies for stroke are changing. In the present article, we review recent epidemiological data, as well as studies into the management and prevention of stroke in China. 2. The main findings of the studies reviewed suggest that stroke mortality in China has been reduced significantly. The percentage of haemorrhagic strokes in China is significantly higher than that reported in Western countries. The incidence and subtype of stroke varied widely in different regions in China. Some of the modifiable risk factors for stroke are on the increase in China, including hypertension. 3. Management of stroke is slowly being developed and standardized, as evidenced by the establishment of stroke units and improvements in emergency care. Studies on primary and secondary stroke prevention remain insufficient. Well-designed epidemiological surveys and clinical trials for stroke prevention and management are urgently needed in China.