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Three experiments are reported here to address the question of whether submorphemic information is involved in the recognition of Chinese characters. A character decision task was used in which frequency characteristics of the radicals within a character and radical status of the components within a noncharacter were manipulated. The frequency of the right-hand radical affected responses to 2-radical characters, whereas the radical status of both left and right components affected noncharacter responses. Furthermore, the impact of radical frequency was shown to be sensitive to radical position. For 3-radical characters, it appeared that the frequency of a compound radical (composed of 2 subradicals) had no effect on responses, whereas the frequency of the subradicals did. It is concluded that all simple radicals are independently activated in the process of character recognition. Compound radicals are not activated in this way despite their common occurrence. The results are considered within a multilevel interactive-activation framework incorporating position sensitivity.