In this paper, a novel on-line handwritten Chinese character recognition (OLHCCR) system is proposed. Several methods and efficient techniques, which have been successfully implemented in an off-line multi-font Chinese character recognition system, have been adopted in the proposed OLHCCR system. In this proposed OLHCCR system, an improved structural representation of handwritten Chinese character (HCC) has been introduced for pre-classification. In pre-classification stage, an index search scheme is used to quick screen out the candidates. An iterative scheme is used in detailed matching. The character to be recognized can be stroke-order and stroke- number free, tolerance for 2 to 3 unimportant missing or added strokes, size flexible, but within the constraint of normal handwriting. A prototype of OLHCCR system is implemented in Visual C++ 6.0 on Window98. The recognition results are based upon 3755 frequently used Chinese characters. Good experimental results show that the proposed approach is very promising.