In this paper, we propose a recursive hierarchical scheme for radical extraction of Chinese characters. The proposed scheme, which combines structural method and statistical method, includes three modules. They are character pattern detection module, straight cut line detection module, and stroke clustering module. Experiments are conducted on 1824 constrained handwritten characters. The successful rate of radical extraction is 96%. The experimental results reveal the feasibility and validity of our proposed approach. (C) 1997 Pattern Recognition Society.