A recent paper by Sun [X. Sun, Spectrochim. Acta A 62 (1-3) (2005) 557] attempts to characterize a variety of liptinite, termed "barkinite", from Chinese Permian coals. The component identified does not appear to fundamentally differ from previously-described liptinite macerals included in the International Committee for Coal and Organic Petrology's system of maceral nomenclature. Further, chemical comparisons made with macerals from coals of different rank and age are flawed because the author did not account for changes in chemistry with rank or for the chemical changes associated with botanical changes through geologic time. The author has not satisfactorily proved his hypothesis that the component differs morphologically or chemically from known liptinite-group macerals. ?? 2006 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.