Background: China has one of the highest incidence rates of oesophageal cancer in the world. The role of human papillomavirus (HPV) has been extensively researched in oesophageal squamous cell carcinoma (OSCC) with indeterminate results. The majority of these studies have been conducted in the Chinese population. Evidence for a definitive HPV-OSCC association could potentially support prophylactic vaccination in target populations, highlighting the need for ongoing investigation. The aim of this review is to summarise the findings of HPV DNA in OSCC tissue in Chinese subjects, with a view to informing further research in this area. Methods: A systematic literature search of the Chinese National Knowledge Infrastructure (CNKI) database, Medline, Embase and PubMed was conducted for all studies in English and Chinese language, examining OSCC tissue for HPV DNA in China. Reference lists of retrieved articles were reviewed and hand searches of relevant, key journals were conducted, to source articles which were not electronically indexed. Sixty-four studies met our selection criteria. Data from case-control and cross-sectional studies were analysed separately for any HPV-OSCC association, using the Epi InfoTM 3.5.3 software program. Results: From all studies conducted in the Chinese population, 2166/5953 (36%) of all OSCC tissue and 478/1684 (28%) of healthy control tissue, tested positive for HPV. We found that 11/16 case-control and cross-sectional studies had a statistically significant crude odds ratio, which supported a potential HPV-OSCC association. The largest study, carried out in the high incidence County of Anyang in Henan Province, reported 207/265 (78%) OSCC tissues testing positive for HPV DNA against 203/357 (57%) controls and had an unadjusted odds ratio of 2.71 (p-value < 0.0001). Conclusion: A rigorous meta-analysis would improve interpretation of the data and a well-designed large-scale case-control study is warranted. If a link is found between HPV and OSCC, prophylactic HPV vaccines could be of significant benefit in China.