This study evaluates the performances of 19 models from the Coupled Model Intercomparison Project Phase 6 (CMIP6) in simulating the water cycle over East China based on observations and reanalysis data using the Brubaker model. Sources of model bias are also investigated. Results reveal that the CMIP6 multi-model ensemble (MME) can reasonably simulate the climatic distribution and annual cycle of precipitation and evaporation with a pattern correlation coefficient of 0.92 and 0.87, respectively. Compared with observations, MME overestimates the precipitation (0.55 mm d−1
) in North China but underestimates the precipitation (−0.3 mm d−1
) in coastal areas of South China. All 19 models overestimate the evaporation with biases of 0.03–0.98 mm d−1
. Thus, differences between the simulated precipitation and evaporation by most models are smaller than those of the observation and reanalysis data. The MME can well simulate the annual cycle of the contribution of each moisture source to the precipitation but underestimates the contribution of remote moisture via the southern boundary, resulting in a dry bias over the study region. It is found that the southerly wind speed over the southern boundary determines the difference in the water vapor transport among CMIP6 models. The stronger the southerly wind speed is in the model, the higher the water vapor flux incomes via the southern boundary, and the more precipitation the model simulates. The position of the convergence zone over the Northwest Pacific is one of the important systems affecting the southerly wind speed over the southern boundary. The eastward shift of the convergence position in the model results in weaker southerly winds, leading to a weaker moisture transport to the study region and less precipitation, and vice versa. This study systematically evaluates the performance of CMIP6 in reproducing the East Asian water cycle and demonstrates the limitation of the models in simulating the convergence zone over the Northwest Pacific and its impact on the East Asian water cycle.