The primary purposes of this study were to (1) compare the characteristics of childhood experiences of parental rearing patterns in China reported by patients with borderline personality disorder (BPD), patients with other personality disorders and patients without personality disorders; (2) identify the reported parental rearing patterns associated with BPD in China; and (3) determine whether these patterns differ for males and females. One hundred and fifty-two patients with BPD, 79 patients with other personality disorders and 55 patients without Axis II diagnoses were administered the Chinese version of the McLean Screening Instrument for BPD and completed the Egna Minnen av Barndoms Uppfostran (EMBU), a self-report measure of childhood parental rearing patterns. Parental rearing patterns reported by the BPD group were characterized by less emotional warmth, and greater punishment, rejection and control than patterns reported by the other two groups. Within the BPD group, males were more likely than females to report parental punishment, rejection and control. Paternal punishment, low maternal emotional warmth and female gender predicted BPD diagnosis. Negative parental rearing patterns appear to contribute to the development of BPD in China and vary with the gender of the child. Maternal emotional warmth may be a protective factor against BPD.