Interleukin-6 is thought to be involved in the pathogenesis of coal workers’ pneumoconiosis. Recently, a functional G to C polymorphism at position −174 of the promoter of the IL-6 gene has been described. We examined the −174 polymorphisms in 259 retired Chinese men from Guangxi province (all retired coal miners). Only one GC heterozygous and no CC homozygous variants were found. Our results suggest that the frequency of the C allele in this Chinese population is lower than in Caucasian and east Indian populations.