BACKGROUND : Alcohol use among Chinese vocational school students is widespread and associated with many negative consequences. However, alcohol-specific antecedents for this population are understudied. OBJECTIVES : The current study explored: (a) which alcohol-specific antecedents are the most salient predictors for alcohol use intentions, (b) whether any mediational relationships exist among these alcohol-specific antecedents, and (c) whether gender-based differences exist among these relationships. METHODS : This study analyzed data from 1,230 vocational school adolescents in three Chinese cities. Survey data were analyzed using dominance analysis and structural equation modeling. RESULTS : Personal norms were the most salient antecedents for alcohol use intentions, followed by injunctive norms from friends and parents, descriptive norms from friends and classmates, and positive belief about drinking. We observed a statistically significant mediational chain from descriptive norms to injunctive norms, and in turn to personal norms and positive beliefs, and finally to alcohol use intentions. Gender moderated some of the paths. CONCLUSIONS : Alcohol use norms and beliefs among Chinese vocational school students have distinct predictive relationships with alcohol use intentions. Alcohol use prevention programs designed for this population need to address normative beliefs (descriptive, injunctive, and personal norms) and the perceived benefit of alcohol use.