Land subsidence is impacting large populations in coastal Asia via relative sea-level rise (RSLR). Here we assesses these risks and possible response strategies for China, including estimates of present rates of RSLR, flood exposure and risk to 2050. In 2015, each Chinese coastal resident experienced on average RSLR of 11 to 20 mm/yr. This is 3 to 5 times higher than climate-induced SLR, reflecting that people are concentrated in subsiding locations. In 2050, assuming these subsidence rates continue, land area, population and assets exposed to the 100-year coastal flood event is 20%-39%, 17%-37% and 18%-39% higher than assuming climate change alone, respectively. Realistic subsidence control measures can avoid up to two thirds of this additional growth in exposure, with adaptation required to address the residual. This analysis emphasizes subsidence as a RSLR hazard in China that requires a broad-scale policy response, utilizing subsidence control combined with coastal adaptation.