Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) can be detected in Hodgkin and Reed-Sternberg (HRS) cells in about one-half of cases of Hodgkin's disease (HD) in Western countries. To determine whether EBV is also associated with HD in a developing country such as China, we studied paraffin sections from 28 Chinese cases of HD for expression of latent membrane protein-I (LMP-I) and EBV-encoded small RNA (EBER-I), using immuno-histology and RNA/RNA in situ hybridization respectively. The cases were selected from a large series of Chinese lymphomas following histological and immunophenotypical revision. EBV gene expression was found in HRS cells in 17/28 cases, and was related to histological sub-type, being present in 10/11 of mixed cellularity, 6/14 nodular sclerosis, 0/1 lymphocytic predominance, 0/1 lymphocytic depletion, and 1/1 unclassified HD. The 2 methods for detecting EBV gene expression gave similar results, except in one case of nodular sclerosis, in which HRS cells were negative for EBER-I, but weakly positive for LMP-I. In 5/12 cases with EBER-negative HRS cells, rare small or medium-sized lymphocytes expressed EBER-I but not LMP-I. These results suggest that (i) Chinese HD is frequently associated with EBV; (ii) the proportional frequency and sub-type distribution of EBV-positive HD are similar in China and in the West; (iii) both LMP-I immunohistology and EBER in situ hybridization reliably detect EBV in HRS cells in routine biopsies, but the former is simpler and less resource-consuming to perform.