Based on 18 global climate models’ simulations of the 20th century climate, a set of experiments within phase five of the Coupled Model Inter-comparison Project (CMIP5), the performances of simulating the present climate over China are assessed. Compared with observations, models can capture the dominant features of the geographic distributions of temperature and precipitation during 1961–2005. For the temporal changes of temperature, models appear to have a good performance on reproducing the warming tendency but show limited skills for precipitation. For the regional mean temperature and precipitation over the whole of China, most models underestimate the actual temperature and overestimate precipitation. Concerning the standard deviations of simulations by the 18 models, they are larger for temperature in the western part of China, while the standard deviations are larger for precipitation in the South.