Blood pressure (BP) changes with age. We conducted a cross-sectional study in rural Chinese adults to investigate: (1) what is the relationship between age, arterial stiffness, and BP in Chinese men and women; and (2) to what degree can the age-BP relationship be explained by arterial stiffness, controlling for other covariables. These analyses included a total of 1688 subjects (males/females: 623/1065), aged 40 to 88 years. Among them, 353 (20.9%) had hypertension (defined as systolic blood pressure (SBP) ≥ 140 mm Hg or diastolic blood pressure (DBP) ≥ 90 mm Hg). Arterial stiffness was measured by brachial-ankle pulse wave velocity (baPWV). baPWV appeared to be more strongly correlated with BP (including SBP, DBP, mean arterial pressure [MAP], pulse pressure [PP]) than age (P < 0.001 for comparisons between Spearman correlation coefficients). Furthermore, baPWV was associated with BP (including SBP, DBP, MAP, and PP) and risk of hypertension in a dose-response fashion, independent of age; in contrast, the age-BP associations were either attenuated or became negative after adjusting for baPWV. Arterial stiffness appears to be an independent contributor to hypertension, even after adjusting for age and other covariables. In contrast, age-BP associations became attenuated or negative after adjusting for baPWV. The utility of baPWV as a diagnostic, prognostic, and therapeutic indicator for hypertension warrants further investigation.