Aerosol pollution in China is significantly altering radiative transfer processes and is thereby potentially affecting rice photosynthesis and yields. However, the response of rice photosynthesis to aerosol-induced radiative perturbations is still not well understood. Here, we employ a process-based modelling approach to simulate changes in incoming radiation (RAD) and the diffuse radiation fraction (DF) with aerosol mitigation in China and their associated impacts on rice yields. Aerosol reduction has the positive effect of increasing RAD and the negative effect of decreasing DF on rice photosynthesis and yields. In rice production areas where the average RAD during the growing season is lower than 250 W m-2, aerosol reduction is beneficial for higher rice yields, whereas in areas with RAD>250 W m-2, aerosol mitigation causes yield declines due to the associated reduction in the DF, which decreases the light use efficiency. As a net effect, rice yields were estimated to significantly increase by 0.8%-2.6% with aerosol concentrations reductions from 20 to 100%, which is lower than the estimates obtained in earlier studies that only considered the effects of RAD. This finding suggests that both RAD and DF are important processes influencing rice yields and should be incorporated into future assessments of agricultural responses to variations in aerosol-induced radiation under climate change.