Using data of 200, 522, 572, and 287 Chinese from Australia, China, Hong Kong and Taiwan respectively, this study aimed at comparing the mental health literacy of Chinese people from different communities, and between Chinese communities and the Australian general public. The participants were asked questions that assessed their recognition of depression and schizophrenia. Compared with the Australians, much lower percentages of Chinese in the four Chinese communities could correctly identify depression and early schizophrenia. Commonalities in the preference for 'psychiatrist', 'psychologist', 'Chinese medical doctor', and 'Chinese traditional healer', a lack of knowledge of medications, and a higher likelihood of endorsement of traditional Chinese medicines were found among the four Chinese communities. Differences in the preference for 'general practitioner' and 'social worker', and a higher percentage of endorsement of herbal medicines were observed among the different Chinese communities. Cultural factors such as Chinese perceptions of mental illness, and socio-contextual factors such as differences in mental health care system in the four communities were offered to explain these commonalities and differences. Mental health promotion programmes for Chinese people may need to consider the above-mentioned cultural and socio-contextual factors so that specific promotion programmes can be developed.