Partial genomic sequences representing 420 nucleotides of a nonstructional region, 480 nucleotides of the putative RNA polymerase region, and 540 nucleotides of the structural region of epidemic-associated Chinese strains of hepatitis E virus (HEV) were obtained by direct sequencing of PCR-amplified DNA. Comparison with previously published HEV sequences showed a clear relatedness of all Chinese strains to each other and to a Pakistani strain (Sar-55). All eight Chinese strains examined had very similar sequences (98.5-99.8% homology) in the regions examined and were much closer to the Pakistani strain (Sar-55) (97.9-98.4% homology) than to the Burmese strain (92.5-93.3% homology). Sequence comparisons of the three genomic regions in the Chinese strains indicated that the RNA polymerase region was much more conserved than the other nonstructural region or the structural region. HEV isolates from three remote geographic regions of China had sequences closely related to each other.