The purposes of this study were to: (1) study the prevalence of pain in patients with mild-to-very severe chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) in China; (2) compare the differences in pain characteristics between stable COPD and acute exacerbation of COPD (AECOPD); (3) explore the clinical associations with pain in those with COPD. This cross-sectional study was conducted in China from October 24, 2017, to January 11, 2019. A face-to-face interview was conducted to collect data. The Chinese version of the brief pain inventory (BPI-C) was applied to investigate the pain characteristics in patients with COPD. Of the 901 patients in this study, 226 (25.1%) patients reported pain problems. The prevalence of pain in patients with mild to very severe COPD was 32.9%, 23.9%, 25.2%, and 23.5%, respectively ( 0.447). According to the BPI-C results, 31.3% (31/99) of patients reported pain of AECOPD, compared to 24.3% (195/802) of stable COPD ( 0.13). Reported pain intensity and pain interference evaluated by the BPI-C were significantly higher in AECOPD than stable COPD ( < 0.001, < 0.05, respectively). Those with body mass index (BMI) ≥ 24kg/m or COPD assessment test (CAT) score > 20 were significantly more likely to have pain problems than BMI < 24kg/m (aOR = 1.568, a95IC = 1.132-2.170, = 0.007) or CAT ≤ 20 (aOR= 1.754, a95IC = 1.213-2.536, = 0.003). Pain was common in patients with both stable COPD and AECOPD. AECOPD patients had a significantly higher pain intensity than stable COPD. Overweight and CAT > 20 were significantly related to higher prevalence of pain.