The protective effects of chitosan on oxidative stress in bruised Yali pears (Pyrus bretschneideri Rehd.) were investigated. The fruit were treated with 1.5% chitosan before or after damage, respectively, and then stored at 16 °C and 90% relative humidity. Postharvest quality, reactive oxygen species (ROS) and antioxidant enzymes were analysed. Results showed that bruise induced the accumulation of H2O2 and O2−. However, chitosan treatments reduced the levels of ROS and delayed the decease of glutathione (GSH) content in bruised fruit. Meanwhile, activities of antioxidant enzymes, including catalase, peroxidases, superoxide dismutase, ascorbate peroxidase or GSH reductase was 40.7%, 98.1%, 62.3%, 127.8% or 23.8% higher in chitosan-bruised fruit and 41.1%, 80.8%, 18.5%, 102.9% or 45.2%, respectively, higher in bruised-chitosan fruit than untreated bruised fruit on the 15th day.