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We summarize several studies, from the last 10 years, of temporal changes and rural-urban differences in the risk factors of cardiovascular disease (CVD) in China to indicate the influences of economic modernization. Two national blood pressure surveys have shown that the prevalence of hypertension increased from 5 .1 % to 7.7 % between 1958-1959 and 1979-1980. Throughout China hypertension is more prevalent in urban areas than in rural areas. With in the Shanghai region body mass index, blood pressure, and total serum cholesterol were higher in urban districts than in rural areas. Rural-urban differences in lipid levels were also found in the Beijing and Guangzhou regions. A related four-year follow up study showed that total serum cholesterol and triglycerides increased markedly in both urban and rural areas of Guangzhou. In Shanghai part-time farmers who worked in factories had a higher age-adjusted prevalence of definite hypertension than farmers who worked full time in the fields (5.0 % versus 2 .3 %). In a prospective study in Wuhananew productivity-based salary system was associated with increased serum cholesterol and blood pressure. Age-adjusted CVD mortality increased from 1973 to 1982 in a rapidly industrializing county in the Shanghai metropolitan region. The results from several studies indicate that China is undergoing the expected increase in modernization-related CVD risk factors and mortality, especially in urban metropolitan regions.