Administrative Divisions

Last Update: 2008-2-22; By chinatravelservice

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The administrative division of People’s Republic of China is as follows.

(1) The country is divided into provinces, autonomous regions and municipalities directly under the Central Government;

(2) Provinces and autonomous regions are divided into autonomous prefectures, counties, autonomous counties, and cities; and

(3) Counties and autonomous counties are divided into townships, ethnic townships, and towns.

Municipalities directly under the Central Government and other large cities are divided into districts and counties. Autonomous prefectures are divided into counties, autonomous counties, and cities.

All autonomous regions, autonomous prefectures and autonomous counties are ethnic autonomous areas. The state may establish special administrative regions when necessary. The systems to be instituted in special administrative regions shall be prescribed by law enacted by the National People's Congress in light of the specific conditions.

By now China has 34 administrative districts at the provincial level and they are composed of 23 provinces, five autonomous regions, four municipalities, and two special administrative regions. Each district has developed its own name for short customarily in history. The city where a provincial people’s government is located in is considered as the capital city of the province. The capital of People’s Republic of China is Beijing because the central government of China lies in Beijing.

County is the most fundamental unit in the administrative division of China. Autonomous regions, autonomous prefectures, and autonomous counties are the ethnic autonomous areas of China and they are inseparable from Chinese Mainland. The state may establish special administrative regions when necessary. Besides, in order to facilitate administration, economic development, and unity of ethnic groups, the state may take necessary adjustments or changes on its administrative division.

Hang Kong and Macao are part of Chinese territory. Chinese government resumed its sovereignty over Hang Kong and Macao respectively on July 1st, 1997 and December 20th, 1999 and at the same time declared the set up of Hang Kong Special Administrative Region and Macao Special Administrative Region.

In terms of administration division, the state can be divided into four municipalities directly under the Central Government, five autonomous regions, 23 provinces, and two special administrative regions. The four municipalities directly under the Central Government refer to Beijing, Tianjin, Shanghai, and Chongqing.

The five autonomous regions include Inner Mongolian Autonomous Region, Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region, Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, and Tibet Autonomous Region.

The twenty-three provinces are Hebei, Shanxi, Liaoning, Jilin, Heilongjiang, Jiangsu, Zhejiang, Anhui, Fujian, Jiangxi, Shandong, Henan, Hubei, Guangdong, Hainan, Sichuan, Guizhou, Yunnan, Shanxi, Gansu, Qinghai, and Taiwan.

The two special administrative regions refer to Hang Kong Special Administrative Region and Macao Special Administrative Region.

The most distinctive difference among regions is the geographical difference between the north and the south. Qinling Mountains and Huaihe River are the main boundary between South China and North China. Natural landscapes and places of cultural relics vary a lot between the region to the south of the boundary and that to the north of the boundary. However, the north and south of China are two most important parts that contribute much to the unity of the whole nation.

The landform of China is reduced eastwards gradually and therefore gives rise to three ladders of altitude. In terms of difference between the east and the west, the most obvious point is that the East China is more economically developed than West China. China is the country which faces the most unbalanced development of economy and society. To large extent, the great disparity between East China and West China on economic growth is caused by different social and natural environment.

Considering the geographical difference between the north and the south, the territory of China can be divided into the south part and the north part; considering the east-west difference on economic development, it can be divided into the east area, the middle area, and the west area; considering both the south-north difference and east-west difference in a general way, China can be considered as the composition of the north part, the south part, and the west part; considering administration by the state, the geographical division of Chinese territory should take the integrity of various districts into full consideration.

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