OBJECTIVE: To assess the prevalence of brain MRI abnormalities in people with epilepsy in rural China and to compare it with that of individuals in the United Kingdom. METHODS: Brain MRI scans were obtained in people with epilepsy who participated in a rural community-based program in China between July 2010 and December 2012. Individual epileptogenic lesion types were reviewed and their associations with seizure control examined. The MRI findings were compared with 2 previous similar studies in the United Kingdom. RESULTS: Among the 597 individuals (58% male, median age 38 years) with MRI scans analyzed, 488 (82%) had active epilepsy. The MRI was abnormal in 389 individuals (65%), with potentially epileptogenic lesion in 224 (38%) and nonspecific abnormalities in 165 (28%), and 108 (18%) were potentially resectable. The potentially epileptogenic lesions were less frequently detected in children (<18 years old, 12 of 68, 18%) than in adults (212 of 529, 40%; p < 0.001). In people with potentially epileptogenic lesions, 67% (150 of 224) had failed ≥2 antiseizure medications. They had higher risk of uncontrolled epilepsy than those with normal MRI (risk ratio [RR] 1.25; p < 0.001) and those with nonspecific abnormality (RR 1.15; p = 0.002) after adjustment for age and sex. The diagnostic yield of MRI was similar to that reported in community- and hospital-based studies in the United Kingdom. CONCLUSIONS: More than one-third of people with chronic epilepsy in rural China have potentially epileptogenic lesions identifiable on brain MRI, with two-thirds fulfilling the definition of pharmacoresistance. These findings highlight the magnitude of the unmet needs for epilepsy surgery in China.