Methods - By searching the MEDLINE database and four Chinese full-text databases (CNKI, CBM, VIP and WANFANG) (up to August 2012), as well as two HLA allele frequency net databases and the Chinese Statistics Yearbook databases, we systematically reviewed the literature on definite and suspected cases of celiac disease, the predisposing HLA allele frequencies, and on gluten exposure in China. Meta-analysis was performed by analyzing DQ2, DQ8 and DQB1*0201 gene frequencies and heterogeneity in populations from different geographic regions and ethnicities in China. Results - At present, the number of reported celiac disease cases is extremely low in China. The frequencies of the HLA-DQ2.5 and HLA-DQ8 haplotypes were 3.4% (95% confidence interval 1.3–5.5%) and 2.1% (0.1–4.1%), respectively. HLA-DQ2 and HLA-DQ8 antigen frequencies were 18.4% (15.0–21.7%) and 8.0% (4.5–11.4%), respectively. The frequency of the DQB1*0201 allele was 10.5% (9.3–11.6%) and it was more common in the northern Chinese than in the southern Chinese populations. The chance of being exposed to gluten is rapidly increasing all over China nowadays. Conclusion - The data on HLA haplotyping, in conjunction with increasing wheat consumption, strongly suggests that the occurrence of celiac disease is more common in China than currently reported. Coordinated measures by the Chinese government, medical and agricultural research institutions, and food industries, would be justified to create more awareness about celiac disease and to prevent it becoming a medical and societal burden.