How do skilled Chinese readers, accustomed to characters, process Pinyin, a phonemic transcription of Chinese? Does the orthography of Chinese characters become activated? In four experiments, native speakers first made a meaning judgment on a two-syllable word written in Pinyin. Immediately following, they responded to a character whose orthography sometimes was related to the character corresponding to the Pinyin. In Experiments 1 and 3, participant named the colour of the presented characters; there was an interference effect when the presented characters included phonetic radicals that were part of the character corresponding to the Pinyin. In Experiments 2 and 4, participants named the character; naming times were affected if either the semantic or phonetic radical was shared with the character corresponding to the Pinyin. The results indicate that access to lexical representations in Chinese is centred on the orthographic character, even when the input is Pinyin.