Provinces of China

Last updated
Province-level administrative divisions
ROC vs PRC.svg
Category Unitary one-party socialist republic (PRC)
Unitary semi-presidential republic (ROC)
LocationFlag of the People's Republic of China.svg  People's Republic of China
Flag of the Republic of China.svg  Republic of China (Taiwan) [1]
Created1947 (ROC constitution)
NumberPRC:
31 (Direct Jurisdiction) + 2 (Special Administrative Regions) + 1 (Disputed)
ROC:
22 (Direct jurisdiction + 2 (Streamlined) + 48 (Claimed areas)
Populations552,300 (Macau) – 104,303,132 (Guangdong)
Areas30.4 km2 (11.7 sq mi) (Macau) [2] – 1,664,897 km2 (642,820 sq mi) (Xinjiang) [3]
GovernmentSingle-Party Government
SARs: 1 country, 2 systems
Provincial government
Subdivisions Sub-provincial city, Prefecture
Counties
province-level administrative divisions
Chinese name
Simplified Chinese 省级行政区
Traditional Chinese 省級行政區
province
Chinese
Tibetan name
Tibetan ཞིང་ཆེན།
Zhuang name
Zhuang Swngj
Mongolian name
Mongolian script ᠮᠤᠵᠢ
Uyghur name
Uyghur ئۆلكە
Manchu name
Manchu script ᡤᠣᠯᠣ
Romanization golo

Provincial-level administrative divisions (simplified Chinese :省级行政区; traditional Chinese :省級行政區; pinyin :Shěng-jí xíngzhèng qū) or first-level administrative divisions (simplified Chinese:一级行政区; traditional Chinese:一級行政區; pinyin:yī-jí xíngzhèng qū), are the highest-level Chinese administrative divisions. There are 34 such divisions claimed by the People's Republic of China, classified as 23 provinces (Chinese :; pinyin :shěng), four municipalities, five autonomous regions, and two Special Administrative Regions. The political status of Taiwan Province along with a small fraction of Fujian Province remain in dispute, those are under separate rule by the Republic of China.

Every province on mainland China (including the island province of Hainan) has a Communist Party of China provincial committee (Chinese:省委; pinyin:shěngwěi), headed by a secretary (Chinese:书记; pinyin:shūjì). The Committee Secretary is effectively in charge of the province, rather than the governor (Chinese:省长/直辖市长/自治区长; pinyin:shěng zhǎng/ zhí xiá shì zhǎng/ zì zhì qū zhǎng) of the provincial government. [4]

Types of provincial-level divisions

Province

The government of each standard province (Chinese:; pinyin:shěng) is nominally led by a provincial committee, headed by a secretary. The committee secretary is first-in-charge of the province; second-in-command is the governor of the provincial government. In practice, day-to-day affairs are managed by a provincial party standing committee, which makes decisions for a province analogous to the Politburo for the central government.

The People's Republic of China (PRC) claims the island of Taiwan and its surrounding islets, including Penghu, as "Taiwan Province", though Taiwan has not been under control of a government that ruled from mainland China since 1949, when the Republic of China (ROC) lost the mainland to the Communist Party of China, which established the PRC. (Kinmen and the Matsu Islands are claimed by the PRC as part of its Fujian Province. Pratas Island and the Vereker Banks and Itu Aba (Taiping Island) are claimed by the PRC as part of Guangdong and Hainan provinces respectively.) The territory is controlled by the Republic of China (ROC, commonly called "Taiwan") though the provinces were streamlined in 1998 and the provincial governments were de facto dissolved in 2019.

Municipality

A municipality (simplified Chinese:直辖市; traditional Chinese:直轄市; pinyin:zhíxiáshì; lit.: 'direct-administrated city') or municipality directly under the administration of the central government is a higher level of city which is directly under the Chinese government, with status equal to that of the provinces. In practice, their political status is higher than that of common provinces.

Autonomous region

An autonomous region (simplified Chinese:自治区; traditional Chinese:自治區; pinyin:zìzhìqū) is a minority subject which has a higher population of a particular minority ethnic group along with its own local government, but an autonomous region theoretically has more legislative rights than in actual practice. The governor of each autonomous region is usually appointed from the respective minority ethnic group.

Special administrative region (SAR)

A special administrative region (SAR) (simplified Chinese:特别行政区; traditional Chinese:特別行政區; pinyin:tèbié xíngzhèngqū) is a highly autonomous and self-governing sub national subject of the People's Republic of China that is directly under the Central People's Government. Each SAR has a chief executive as head of the region and head of government. The region's government is not fully independent, as foreign policy and military defence are the responsibility of the central government, according to the basic laws.

List of province-level divisions

Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous RegionTibet (Xizang) Autonomous RegionQinghai ProvinceGansu ProvinceSichuan ProvinceYunnan ProvinceNingxia Hui Autonomous RegionInner Mongolia (Nei Mongol) Autonomous RegionShaanxi ProvinceMunicipality of ChongqingGuizhou ProvinceGuangxi Zhuang Autonomous RegionShanxi ProvinceHenan ProvinceHubei ProvinceHunan ProvinceGuangdong ProvinceHainan ProvinceHebei ProvinceHeilongjiang ProvinceJilin ProvinceLiaoning ProvinceMunicipality of BeijingMunicipality of TianjinShandong ProvinceJiangsu ProvinceAnhui ProvinceMunicipality of ShanghaiZhejiang ProvinceJiangxi ProvinceFujian ProvinceHong Kong Special Administrative RegionMacau Special Administrative RegionTaiwan ProvinceProvinces of China
Provinces of China
GB/T 2260-2007 [5] ISO [6] ProvinceChinese
Hanyu Pinyin
CapitalPopulation [lower-alpha 1] Density [lower-alpha 2] Area [lower-alpha 3] Abbreviation [lower-alpha 4]
AHCN-AH Anhui Province 安徽省
Ānhuī Shěng
Hefei 59,500,510425.91139,700
Wǎn
BJCN-BJ Beijing Municipality 北京市
Běijīng Shì
19,612,3681,167.4016,800
Jīng
CQCN-CQ Chongqing Municipality 重庆市
Chóngqìng Shì
28,846,170350.5082,300
FJCN-FJ Fujian Province [lower-alpha 5] 福建省
Fújiàn Shěng
Fuzhou (PRC)
Jincheng (ROC) [lower-alpha 6]
36,894,216304.15121,580
Mǐn
GDCN-GD Guangdong Province [lower-alpha 7] 广东省
Guǎngdōng Shěng
Guangzhou 104,303,132579.46180,000
Yuè
GSCN-GS Gansu Province 甘肃省
Gānsù Shěng
Lanzhou 25,575,25456.29454,300甘(陇)
Gān (Lǒng)
GXCN-GX Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region 广西壮族自治区
Guǎngxī Zhuàngzú Zìzhìqū
Nanning 46,026,629195.02236,000
Guì
GZCN-GZ Guizhou Province 贵州省
Guìzhōu Shěng
Guiyang 34,746,468197.42176,000贵(黔)
Guì (Qián)
HA (HEN)CN-HA Henan Province 河南省
Hénán Shěng
Zhengzhou 94,023,567563.01167,000
HB (HUB)CN-HB Hubei Province 湖北省
Húběi Shěng
Wuhan 57,237,740307.89185,900
È
HE (HEB)CN-HE Hebei Province 河北省
Héběi Shěng
Shijiazhuang 71,854,202382.81187,700
HICN-HI Hainan Province [lower-alpha 8] 海南省
Hǎinán Shěng
Haikou 9,171,300 [8] 255.0434,000
Qióng
HKCN-HK [lower-alpha 9] Hong Kong Special Administrative Region 香港特别行政区
Xiānggǎng Tèbié Xíngzhèngqū
7,061,2006,396.011,108
Gǎng
HLCN-HL Heilongjiang Province 黑龙江省
Hēilóngjiāng Shěng
Harbin 38,312,22484.38454,000
Hēi
HN (HUN)CN-HN Hunan Province 湖南省
Húnán Shěng
Changsha 65,683,722312.77210,000
Xiāng
JLCN-JL Jilin Province 吉林省
Jílín Shěng
Changchun 27,462,297146.54187,400
JSCN-JS Jiangsu Province 江苏省
Jiāngsū Shěng
Nanjing 78,659,903766.66102,600
JXCN-JX Jiangxi Province 江西省
Jiāngxī Shěng
Nanchang 44,567,475266.87167,000
Gàn
LNCN-LN Liaoning Province 辽宁省
Liáoníng Shěng
Shenyang 43,746,323299.83145,900
Liáo
MOCN-MO [lower-alpha 10] Macau Special Administrative Region 澳门特别行政区
Àomén Tèbié Xíngzhèngqū
552,30019,044.8229
Ào
NMCN-NM Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region 内蒙古自治区
Nèi Měnggǔ Zìzhìqū
Hohhot 24,706,32120.881,183,000内蒙古(绥/蒙)
Nèi Měnggǔ (Suí/Měng)
NXCN-NX Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region 宁夏回族自治区
Níngxià Huízú Zìzhìqū
Yinchuan 6,301,35094.8966,400
Níng
QHCN-QH Qinghai Province 青海省
Qīnghǎi Shěng
Xining 5,626,7227.80721,200
Qīng
SCCN-SC Sichuan Province 四川省
Sìchuān Shěng
Chengdu 80,418,200165.81485,000川(蜀)
Chuān (Shǔ)
SDCN-SD Shandong Province 山东省
Shāndōng Shěng
Jinan 95,793,065622.84153,800
SHCN-SH Shanghai Municipality 上海市
Shànghǎi Shì
23,019,1483,630.206,341沪(申)
Hù (Shēn)
SN (SAA)CN-SN Shaanxi Province 陕西省
Shǎnxī Shěng
Xi'an 37,327,378181.55205,600陕(秦)
Shǎn (Qín)
SX (SAX)CN-SX Shanxi Province 山西省
Shānxī Shěng
Taiyuan 35,712,111228.48156,300
Jìn
TJCN-TJ Tianjin Municipality 天津市
Tiānjīn Shì
12,938,2241,144.4611,305
Jīn
TWCN-TW [lower-alpha 11] Taiwan Province [lower-alpha 12] 台湾省
Táiwān Shěng
Taipei (PRC Claimed)
Zhongxing New Village (ROC) [lower-alpha 13]
23,162,123650.9736,161台(臺)
Tái
XJCN-XJ Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region 新疆维吾尔自治区
Xīnjiāng Wéiwú'ěr Zìzhìqū
Ürümqi 21,813,33413.131,660,400
Xīn
XZCN-XZ Tibet Autonomous Region 西藏自治区
Xīzàng Zìzhìqū
Lhasa 3,002,1662.441,228,400
Zàng
YNCN-YN Yunnan Province 云南省
Yúnnán Shěng
Kunming 45,966,239116.66394,000云(滇)
Yún (Diān)
ZJCN-ZJ Zhejiang Province 浙江省
Zhèjiāng Shěng
Hangzhou 54,426,891533.59102,000
Zhè
  1. as of 2010
  2. per km2
  3. km2
  4. Abbreviation in the parentheses is informal
  5. Most of the Fujian Province is administered by the People's Republic of China (PRC) while the Taiwan (ROC) includes Kinmen County (Quemoy) and Lienchiang County (Matsu) formelry under its own streamlined Fujian Province.
  6. The Fujian Provincial Government was formed on 1 May 1927 and the provincial government was relocated from Foochow to Kinmen, then Hsintien Township and Taipei County within Taiwan Province in 1956 before moving back to Kinmen on 15 January 1996. The government was abolished on 1 January 2019 with the remaining functions were transferred to the National Development Council and other ministries of the Executive Yuan. [7]
  7. Most of the Guangdong Province is administered by the People's Republic of China (PRC) while the Taiwan (ROC) includes Pratas Island (also named Tungsha Island or Dongsha Island) as part of the Dongsha Atoll National Park.
  8. Most of the Hainan Province is administered by the People's Republic of China (PRC) while the Taiwan (ROC) includes Itu Abab/Taiping Island as part of Cijin District, Kaohsiung.
  9. Has separate ISO 3166-2 code: HK
  10. Has separate ISO 3166-2 code: MO
  11. Has separate ISO 3166-2 code: TW
  12. The People's Republic of China considers Taiwan to be its 23rd province, but Taiwan is currently administrated by the Republic of China. Since 1945, the ROC only controls the island of Taiwan and Penghu. For Kinmen and Matsu, see note on Fujian Province. See also Political status of Taiwan
  13. The Taiwan Provincial Government was established in September 1945, after the Japanese rule. It was streamlined in December 1998, with administrative functions transferred to the National Development Council and other ministries of the Executive Yuan. In July 2018, the government was abolished, with the budget and most personnel removed. [7]

History

Sui provinces

Sui provinces, ca. 610 Sui Dynasty.png
Sui provinces, ca. 610

By the time unity was finally reestablished by the Sui dynasty, the provinces had been divided and redivided so many times by different governments that they were almost the same size as commanderies, rendering the two-tier system superfluous. As such, the Sui merged the two together. In English, this merged level is translated as "prefectures". In Chinese, the name changed between zhou and jun several times before being finally settled on zhou. Based on the apocryphal Nine Province system, the Sui restored nine zhou. [9]

Provinces of the Sui dynasty
NameTraditional
Chinese
Simplified
Chinese
PinyinCapitalApproximate extent in terms of modern locations
Ancient nameModern location
Yongzhou 雍州Yōngzhōu??Guanzhong, Gansu, and the Upper Yellow basin
Jizhou 冀州Jìzhōu??Shanxi and Northern Hebei, including modern Beijing and Tianjin
Yanzhou 兗州兖州Yǎnzhōu??Lower Yellow River area- west of Qingzhou and east of Jizhou
Qingzhou 青州Qīngzhōu??Shandong Peninsula
Yuzhou 豫州Yùzhōu??Henan
Xuzhou 徐州Xúzhōu??Modern Xuzhou area- southern Shandong and northern Jiangsu
Liangzhou 梁州Liángzhōu??Upper Yangtze- Sichuan Basin + south of the Qinling
Jingzhou 荆州荆州Jīngzhōu??Central Yangtze
Yangzhou 揚州扬州Yángzhōu??Lower Yangtze, entire SE Coast, Hainan, and Northern Vietnam

Tang provinces

Tang circuits, ca. 660 Tang circuits 660.png
Tang circuits, ca. 660
Tang circuits, ca. 742 China, 742.svg
Tang circuits, ca. 742

Emperor Taizong (r. 626–649) set up 10 "circuits" ( ; dào) in 627 as inspection areas for imperial commissioners monitoring the operation of prefectures, rather than a new primary level of administration. In 639, there were 10 circuits, 43 commanderies ( ; dūdū fǔ), and 358 prefectures ( and later ; ). [10] In 733, Emperor Xuanzong expanded the number of circuits to 15 by establishing separate circuits for the areas around Chang'an and Luoyang, and by splitting the large Shannan and Jiangnan circuits into 2 and 3 new circuits respectively. He also established a system of permanent inspecting commissioners, though without executive powers. [11]

Circuits of the Tang dynasty
NameTraditional
Chinese
Simplified
Chinese
PinyinCapitalApproximate extent in terms of modern locations
Ancient nameModern location
Duji*都畿DūjīHenan Fu Luoyang Luoyang and environs
Guannei 關內关内GuānnèiJingzhao Fu Xi'an northern Shaanxi, central Inner Mongolia, Ningxia
Hebei 河北HéběiWeizhou Wei County, Hebei Hebei
Hedong 河東河东HédōngPuzhouPuzhou, Yongji, Shanxi Shanxi
Henan 河南HénánBianzhou Kaifeng Henan, Shandong, northern Jiangsu, northern Anhui
Huainan 淮南Huáinán Yangzhou central Jiangsu, central Anhui
Jiannan 劍南剑南JiànnánYizhou Chengdu central Sichuan, central Yunnan
Jiangnan 江南JiāngnánJiangnanxi + Jiangnandong (see map)
Qianzhong**黔中QiánzhōngQianzhou Pengshui Guizhou, western Hunan
Jiangnanxi**江南西JiāngnánxīHongzhou Nanchang Jiangxi, Hunan, southern Anhui, southern Hubei
Jiangnandong**江南東江南东Jiāngnándōng Suzhou southern Jiangsu, Zhejiang, Fujian, Shanghai
Jingji*京畿JīngjīJingzhao Fu Xi'an Xi'an and environs
Lingnan 嶺南岭南Lǐngnán Guangzhou Guangdong, eastern Guangxi, northern Vietnam
Longyou 隴右陇右LǒngyouShanzhou Ledu County, Qinghai Gansu
Shannan 山南ShānnánShannanxi + Shannandong (see map)
Shannanxi**山南西ShānnánxīLiangzhou Hanzhong southern Shanxi, eastern Sichuan, Chongqing
Shannandong**山南東山南东ShānnándōngXiangzhou Xiangfan southern Henan, Hubei

* Circuits established under Xuanzong, as opposed to Taizong's original ten circuits.

** Circuits established under Xuanzong by dividing Taizong's Jiangnan and Shannan circuits.

Other Tang-era circuits include the West Lingnan, Wu'an, and Qinhua circuits.

Song provinces

Song circuits, ca. 1111 Northern Song Circuits.png
Song circuits, ca. 1111

The Song government abolished the previous commissioners and renamed their circuits ( ; , literally meaning "roads", but however is still usually translated into English as "circuits"). They also added a number of "army" prefectures ( ; jūn). Similarly, Liao and Jurchen Jin dynasties also established circuits as the first-level administrative division.

Circuits of the Northern Song dynasty
NameTraditional
Chinese
Simplified
Chinese
PinyinCapitalApproximant extent in terms of modern locations
Ancient nameModern location
Chengdufu 成都府Chéngdūfǔ Chengdu central Sichuan
Fujian 福建Fújiàn Fuzhou Fujian
Guangnan East 廣南東广南东Guǎngnándōng Guangzhou eastern Guangdong
Guangnan West 廣南西广南西GuǎngnánxīGuizhou Guilin western Guangdong, Guangxi, Hainan
Hebei East 河北東河北东HéběidōngBeijing Daming County, Hebeieastern Hebei
Hebei West 河北西HéběixīZhending Zhengding County, Hebeiwestern Hebei
Hedong 河東河东Hédōng Taiyuan Shanxi
Huainan East 淮南東淮南东Huáinándōng Yangzhou central Jiangsu
Huainan West 淮南西HuáinánxīShouzhou Fengtai County, Anhuicentral Anhui
Jiangnan East 江南東江南东JiāngnándōngJiangning Fu Nanjing southern Anhui
Jiangnan West 江南西JiāngnánxīHongzhou Nanchang Jiangxi
Jingdong East 京東東京东东JīngdōngdōngQingzhou Qingzhou, Shandongeastern Shandong
Jingdong West 京東西京东西JīngdōngxīNanjingsouth of Shangqiu, Henanwestern Shandong
Jinghu North 荊湖北荆湖北Jīnghúběi Jiangling Hubei, western Hunan
Jinghu South 荊湖南荆湖南Jīnghúnán Tanzhou Changsha Hunan
Jingji 京畿JīngjīChenliuChenliu, Kaifeng, Henan Kaifeng and environs
Jingxi North 京西北JīngxīběiXijing Luoyang central Henan
Jingxi South 京西南JīngxīnánXiangzhou Xiangfan southern Henan, northern Hubei
Kuizhou 夔州KuízhōuKuizhou Fengjie County, Chongqing Chongqing, eastern Sichuan, Guizhou
Liangzhe 兩浙两浙Liǎngzhè Hangzhou Zhejiang, southern Jiangsu, Shanghai
Lizhou 利州LìzhōuXingyuan Hanzhong northern Sichuan, southern Shaanxi
Qinfeng 秦鳳秦凤QínfèngQinzhou Tianshui southern Gansu
Yongxingjun 永興軍永兴军YǒngxīngjūnJingzhao Xi'an Shaanxi
Zizhou 梓州ZǐzhōuZizhou Santai County, Sichuancentral southern Sichuan

Yuan provinces

Yuan provinces, ca. 1330 Yuan Provinces.png
Yuan provinces, ca. 1330

China was reorganised into 11 provinces keeping most of the previous boundaries of provinces created by the previous dynasty unchanged, the Yuan Dynasty (1271–1368) had 2 addition regions: Central region ruled by the Zhongshu Sheng (中書省) and the Tibetan region ruled by the Bureau of Buddhist and Tibetan Affairs (宣政院).

Circuits of the Yuan dynasty
NameTraditional
Chinese
Simplified
Chinese
PinyinCapitalApproximant extent in terms of modern locations
Ancient nameTraditional
Chinese
Simplified
Chinese
PinyinModern location
Gansu 甘肅甘肃GānsùGanzhou Circuit甘州路Gānzhōu Lù Zhangye Consist of modern location of Gansu, Ningxia, & eastern Inner Mongolia.
Huguang 湖廣湖广HúguǎngWuchang Circuit武昌路Wǔchāng Lù Wuhan Consist of modern location of Hunan, Guangxi, Guizhou, Hainan,
southern Hubei & western Guangdong.
Henanjiangbei 河南江北HénánjiāngběiBianliang Circuit汴梁路Biànliáng Lù Kaifeng Consist of modern location of Henan, northern Hubei, northern Jiangsu, & northern Anhui.
Jiangxi 江西JiāngxīLongxing Circuit龍興路龙兴路Lóngxìng Lù Nanchang Consist of modern location of Jiangxi & eastern Guangdong.
Jiangzhe 江浙JiāngzhèHangzhou Circuit杭州路Hángzhōu Lù Hangzhou Consist of modern location of Shanghai, Zhejiang, Fujian, southern Jiangsu, & southern Anhui.
Liaoyang 遼陽辽阳LiáoyángLiaoyang Circuit遼陽路辽阳路Liáoyáng Lù Liaoyang Consist of modern location of Heilongjiang, Jilin, Liaoning, eastern Hebei,
northwestern Inner Mongolia, northern Korea, & Outer Manchuria.
Lingbei 嶺北岭北LǐngběiHening Circuit和寧路和宁路Héníng Lù Kharkhorin Consist of modern location of Mongolia & southern Siberia.
Shaanxi 陝西陕西ShǎnxiFengyuan Circuit奉元路Fèngyuán Lù Xi'an Consist of modern location of Shaanxi & mid-western Sichuan
Sichuan 四川SìchuānChengdu Circuit成都路Chéngdū Lù Chengdu Consist of modern location of western Sichuan & Chongqing
Yunnan 雲南云南YúnnánZhongqing Circuit中慶路中庆路Zhōngqìng Lù Kunming Consist of modern location of Yunnan and Upper Myanmar.
Zhengdong 征東征东ZhēngdōngKaicheng Circuit開城路开城路Kāichéng Lù Kaesong Consist of modern location of southern Korea.
Central region*中書省中书省Zhōngshū ShěngnoneConsist of modern location of Beijing, Tianjin, Shanxi, Shandong,
northern Henan, central Inner Mongolia, & western Hebei.
A direct rule region under Zhongshu Sheng (Central Secretariat).
Tibetan region*宣政院Xuānzhèng YuànnoneConsist of modern location of Tibet, Qinghai, & western Sichuan.
A region set up to supervised Buddhist monks in addition to managing
the territory of Tibet under the Bureau of Buddhist and Tibetan Affairs.

Ming provinces

Ming provinces, ca. 1409 Ming divisions.png
Ming provinces, ca. 1409

The Ming Dynasty (1368–1644) kept the province system set up by the Yuan Dynasty, however, it divided the original 10 provinces into 16 provinces, later 2 capital metropolitan areas and 13 provinces (兩京十三省) within China proper and 5 additional military ruled regions.

Circuits of the Yuan dynasty
NameTraditional
Chinese
Simplified
Chinese
PinyinCapitalApproximant extent in terms of modern locations
Ancient nameTraditional
Chinese
Simplified
Chinese
PinyinModern location
Fujian 福建FújiànFuzhou Prefecture福州府Fúzhōu Fǔ
Guangdong 廣東广东GuǎngdōngGuangzhou Prefecture廣州府广州府Guǎngzhōu Gǔ
Guangxi 廣西广西GuǎngxīGuilin Prefecture桂林府Guìlín Fǔ
Guizhou 貴州贵州GuìzhōuGuiyang Prefecture貴陽府贵阳府Guìyáng Fǔ
Henan 河南HénánKaifeng Prefecture開封府开封府Kāifēng Fǔ
Huguang 湖廣湖广HúguǎngWuchang Prefecture武昌府Wǔchāng FǔConsist of modern location of Hunan & Hubei.
Provincial seat modern location is Wuhan.
Jiangxi 江西JiāngxīNanchang Prefecture南昌府Nánchāng Fǔ
Shaanxi 陝西陕西ShǎnxīXi'an Prefecture西安府Xī'ān FǔConsist of modern location of Shaanxi, Gansu, & Ningxia.
Shandong 山東山东ShāndōngJinan Prefecture濟南府济南府Jǐnán Fǔ
Shanxi 山西ShānxīTaiyuan Prefecture太原府Tàiyuán Fǔ
Sichuan 四川SìchuānChengdu Prefecture成都府Chéngdū FǔConsist of modern location of Chongqing & eastern Sichuan.
Yunnan 雲南云南YúnnánYunnan Prefecture雲南府云南府Yúnnán FǔProvincial seat modern location is Kunming.
Zhejiang 浙江ZhèjiāngHangzhou Prefecture杭州府Hángzhōu Fǔ
Jiaozhi 交趾JiāozhǐJiaozhou Prefecture交州府Jiāozhōu FǔConsist of modern location of northern Vietnam.
1407–1428
North Zhili 北直隸北直隶BěizhílìShuntian Prefecture順天府顺天府Shùntiān FǔConsist of modern location of Beijing, Tianjin, & Hebei.
Provincial seat modern location is Beijing.
South Zhili 南直隸南直隶NánzhílìYingtian Prefecture應天府应天府Yìngtiān FǔConsist of modern location of Shanghai, Jiangsu, & Anhui.
Provincial seat modern location is Nanjing.
Nurgan*奴兒干奴儿干Nú'ergànnoneConsist of modern location of Heilongjiang, Jilin, central-eastern Inner Mongolia, & Outer Manchuria.
1409–1616
Liaodong*遼東辽东LiáodōngnoneConsist of modern location of Liaoning.
1375–1621
Ü-Tsang*烏斯藏乌斯藏WūsīzàngnoneConsist of modern location of Tibet.
1372–1565
Dokham*朵甘DuǒgānnoneConsist of modern location of Qinghai & western Sichuan.
1372–1644
Elis*俄力思ÉlìsīnoneConsist of modern location of Ngari, Tibet.
1375–1565

Qing provinces

By the latter half of the Qing Dynasty (1644–1912), there were 18 provinces, all of them in China proper (內地十八省). Jiangsu and Anhui were originally one province called Jiangnan, with its capital at Nanjing. There was no discrete time period when the two halves of Jiangnan were split, but rather, this was a gradual process.

New provinces

Each province had a xunfu (巡撫; xúnfǔ; translated as "governor"), a political overseer on behalf of the emperor, and a tidu (提督; tídū; translated as "captain general"), a military governor. In addition, there was a zongdu (總督; zǒngdū), a general military inspector or governor general, for every two to three provinces.

Outer regions of China (those beyond China proper) were not divided into provinces. Military leaders or generals (將軍; jiāngjūn) oversaw Manchuria (consisting of Fengtian (now Liaoning), Jilin, Heilongjiang), Xinjiang, and Mongolia, while vice-dutong (副都統; fù dūtǒng) and civilian leaders headed the leagues (盟長; méng zhǎng), a subdivision of Mongolia. The ambans (駐藏大臣; zhù cáng dàchén) supervised the administration of Tibet.

In 1884 Xinjiang became a province; in 1907 Fengtian, Jilin, and Heilongjiang were made provinces as well. Taiwan became a province in 1885, but China ceded Taiwan to Japan in 1895. As a result, there were 22 provinces in China (Outer China and China proper) near the end of the Qing Dynasty.

ROC provinces (1912–1949)

The Republic of China, established in 1912, set up four more provinces in Inner Mongolia and two provinces in historic Tibet, bringing the total to 28. In 1931, Ma Zhongying established Hexi in the northern parts of Gansu but the ROC never acknowledged the province. However, China lost four provinces with the establishment of the Japanese puppet state of Manchukuo in Manchuria. After the defeat of Japan in World War II in 1945, China re-incorporated Manchuria as 10 provinces, and assumed control of Taiwan as a province. As a result, the Republic of China in 1946 had 35 provinces. Although the Republic of China now only controls one province (Taiwan), and some islands of a second province (Fujian), it continues to formally claim all 35 provinces (including those that no longer form part of the area of the People's Republic of China).

Other province-level divisions

List of PRC/ROC province-level divisions

  abolished  claimed

Greater administrative areas

NameHanzi Pinyin TranslationCapitalHanziNotes
Huabei 华北Huáběi"North China" Beijing 北京1949–1954
Dongbei 东北Dōngběi"Northeast" Shenyang 沈阳1949–1954
Huadong 华东Huádōng"East China" Shanghai 上海1949–1954
Zhongnan 中南Zhōngnán"South Central" Wuhan 武汉1949–1954
Xibei 西北Xīběi"Northwest" Xi'an 西安1949–1954
Xinan 西南Xīnán"Southwest" Chongqing 重庆1949–1954

Provinces

NameHanzi Pinyin AbbreviationCapitalHanziNote
Andong 安东Āndōngān Tonghua 通化1949 abolished → Liaodong, Jilin
Anhui 安徽Ānhuīwǎn Hefei 合肥1949 abolished → Wanbei, Wannan; 1952 reverted
Chahar 察哈尔Cháhā'ěrchá Zhangjiakou 张家口1952 abolished → Inner Mongolia, Hebei
Fujian 福建Fújiànmǐn Fuzhou (PRC)
Jincheng (ROC)
福州parts of the Fujian Province consisting of Kinmen and Matsu are part of Taiwan (ROC)
Gansu 甘肃Gānsùgān Lanzhou 兰州1958 Ningxia split into its own autonomous region
Guangdong 广东Guǎngdōngyuè Guangzhou 广州1952 & 1965 Fangchenggang, Qinzhou, Beihai → Guangxi; 1955 reverted
1988 Hainan split into its own province
Guangxi 广西Guǎngxīguì Nanning 南宁1958 province → autonomous region
Guizhou 贵州Guìzhōuqián Guiyang 贵阳
Hainan 海南Hǎinánqióng Haikou 海口
Hebei 河北Héběi Baoding (1949–54; 1967–68)
Tianjin (1954–67)
Shijiazhuang (present)
保定
天津
石家庄
1967 Tianjin split into its own municipality
Hejiang 合江Héjiāng Jiamusi 佳木斯1949 abolished → Heilongjiang
Heilongjiang 黑龙江Hēilóngjiānghēi Qiqihar (1949–54)
Harbin (present)
齐齐哈尔
哈尔滨
1952 part of Xing'an split into Inner Mongolia
Henan 河南Hénán Kaifeng (1949–54)
Zhengzhou (present)
开封
郑州
Hubei 湖北Húběiè Wuhan 武汉
Hunan 湖南Húnánxiāng Changsha 长沙
Jiangsu 江苏Jiāngsū Nanjing 南京1949 abolished → Subei, Subnan; 1952 reverted
Jiangxi 江西Jiāngxīgàn Nanchang 南昌
Jilin 吉林Jílín Jilin (1949–54)
Changchun (present)
吉林
长春
1952 north part split into Inner Mongolia
Liaobei 辽北Liáoběitáo Liaoyuan 辽源1949 abolished → Jilin, Liaoning
Liaodong 辽东Liáodōngguān Dandong 丹东1954 abolished → Liaoning
Liaoning 辽宁Liáoníngliáo Shenyang 沈阳1949 abolished → Liaodong, Liaoxi; 1954 reverted
1952 north part split into Inner Mongolia
Liaoxi 辽西Liáoxīliáo Jinzhou 锦州1954 abolished → Liaoning
Nenjiang 嫩江Nènjiāngnèn Qiqihar 齐齐哈尔1949 abolished → Heilongjiang
Ningxia 宁夏Níngxiàníng Yinchuan 银川1954 province → Gansu
Mudanjiang 牡丹江Mǔdānjiāngdān Mudanjiang 牡丹江1949 abolished → Heilongjiang
Pingyuan 平原Píngyuánpíng Xinxiang 新乡1952 abolished → Henan, Shandong
Qinghai 青海Qīnghǎiqīng Xining 西宁
Rehe 热河Rèhé Chengde 承德1955 abolished → Inner Mongolia, & Liaoning
Sichuan 四川Sìchuānchuān Chengdu 成都1949 abolished → Chuanbei, Chuandong, Chuannan, Chuanxi; 1952 reverted
1997 Chongqing split into its own municipality
Shaanxi 陕西Shǎnxīshǎn Xi'an 西安
Shandong 山东Shāndōng Jinan 济南
Shanxi 山西Shānxījìn Taiyuan 太原
Songjiang 松江Sōngjiāngsōng Harbin 哈尔滨1954 abolished → Heilongjiang
Suiyuan 绥远Suíyuǎnsuí Hohhot 呼和浩特1954 abolished → Inner Mongolia
Taiwan 台湾Táiwāntái Taipei
Zhongxing New Village (ROC only)
台北claimed since 1949 the founding of the PRC
Xikang 西康Xīkāngkāng Kangding (1949–50)
Ya'an (1950–55)
康定
雅安
1955 abolished → Sichuan, Yunnan, Tibet Autonomous Region
Xing'an 兴安Xīng'ānxīng Hulunbuir 呼伦贝尔1949 abolished → Heilongjiang
Xinjiang 新疆Xīnjiāngjiāng Ürümqi 乌鲁木齐1955 province → autonomous region
Yunnan 云南Yúnnándiān Kunming 昆明
Zhejiang 浙江Zhèjiāngzhè Hangzhou 杭州

Autonomous regions

NameHanzi Pinyin AbbreviationCapitalHanziNote
Guangxi 广西Guǎngxīguì Nanning 南宁1958 province → autonomous region
Inner Mongolia 内蒙古Nèi Měnggǔměng Ulaanhot (1947–50)
Hohhot (present)
乌兰浩特
呼和浩特
1947 created; 1969 truncated → Liaoning, Heilongjiang,
Jilin, Gansu, Ningxia; 1979 reverted
Ningxia 宁夏Níngxiàníng Yinchuan 银川1958 special region → autonomous region
Tibet 西藏Xīzàngzàng Lhasa 拉萨1965 area → autonomous region
Xinjiang 新疆Xīnjiāngjiāng Ürümqi 乌鲁木齐1955 province → autonomous region

Municipalities

NameHanzi Pinyin AbbreviationCapitalHanziNote
Anshan 鞍山Ānshānān Tiedong District 铁东区1954 abolished → Liaoning
Beijing (PRC)北京Běijīngjīng Dongcheng District
Tongzhou District
东城区
通州区
Benxi 本溪Běnxīběn Pingshan District 平山区1954 abolished → Liaoning
Changchun 长春Chángchūnchūn Nanguan District 南关区1953 created; 1954 abolished → Jilin
Chongqing (PRC)重庆Chóngqìng Yuzhong District 渝中区1954 abolished → Sichuan; 1997 reverted
Dalian → Lüda 大连→旅大Dàliánlián Xigang District 西岗区1949 abolished → Luda, 1950 reverted, 1954 abolished → Liaoning
Fushun 抚顺Fǔshùn Shuncheng District 顺城区1954 abolished → Liaoning
Guangzhou 广州Guǎngzhōusuì Yuexiu District 越秀区1954 abolished → Guangdong
Harbin 哈尔滨Hā'ěrbīn Nangang District 南岗区1953 created, 1954 abolished → Heilongjiang
Kaohsiung (ROC)高雄Gāoxiónggāo Lingya District
Fongshan District
苓雅區
鳳山區
Nanjing 南京Nánjīngníng Xuanwu District 玄武区1952 abolished → Jiangsu
New Taipei (ROC)新北Xīnběi新北xīnběi Banqiao District 板橋區
Shanghai (PRC)上海Shànghǎi Huangpu District 黄浦区
Shenyang 沈阳Shěnyángshěn Shenhe District 沈河区1954 abolished → Liaoning
Taichung (ROC)臺中Táizhōngzhōng Xitun District 西屯區
Tainan (ROC)臺南Táinánnán Anping District
Xinying District
安平區
新營區
Taipei (ROC)臺北Táiběiběi Xinyi District 信義區
Taoyuan (ROC)桃園Táoyuántáo Taoyuan District 桃園區
Tianjin (PRC)天津Tiānjīnjīn Heping District 和平区1954 abolished → Hebei, 1967 reverted
Hankou → Wuhan 汉口→武汉Wǔhànhàn Jiang'an District 江岸区1949 abolished → Hubei
Xi'an 西安Xī'ānhào Weiyang District 未央区1954 abolished → Shaanxi

Special administrative regions

NameHanzi Pinyin AbbreviationCapitalHanziNote
Hong Kong 香港Xiānggǎnggǎng Hong Kong 香港created 1997 (Transfer of sovereignty over Hong Kong)
Macau 澳门Àoménào Macau 澳门created 1999 (Transfer of sovereignty over Macau)

Administrative territories

NameHanzi Pinyin AbbreviationCapitalHanziNote
Chuanbei 川北Chuānběichōng Nanchong 南充1950 created; 1952 abolished → Sichuan
Chuandong 川东Chuāndōng Chongqing 重庆1950 created; 1952 abolished → Sichuan
Chuannan 川南Chuānnán Luzhou 泸州1950 created; 1952 abolished → Sichuan
Chuanxi 川西Chuānxīróng Chengdu 成都1950 created; 1952 abolished → Sichuan
Hainan 海南Hǎinánqióng Haikou 海口1949 abolished → Guangdong
Lüda 旅大Lǚdà Dalian 大连1949 created; 1950 abolished → Dalian
Subei 苏北Sūběiyáng Yangzhou 扬州1949 created; 1952 abolished → Jiangsu
Sunan 苏南Sūnán Wuxi 无锡1949 created; 1952 abolished → Jiangsu
Wanbei 皖北Wǎnběi Hefei 合肥1949 created; 1952 abolished → Anhui
Wannan 皖南Wǎnnán Wuhu 芜湖1949 created; 1952 abolished → Anhui

Regions

NameHanzi Pinyin AbbreviationCapitalHanziNote
Tibet 西藏Xīzàngzàng Lhasa 拉萨1965 region → autonomous region

Territories

NameHanzi Pinyin AbbreviationCapitalHanziNote
Qamdo 昌都Chāngdūchāng Qamdo 昌都1965 merged into Tibet

The People's Republic of China abolished many of the provinces in the 1950s and converted a number of them into autonomous regions. Hainan became a separate province in 1988, bringing the total number of provinces under PRC control to 22.

In contrast, the Republic of China also had a number of provinces under its control such as Taiwan and Fujian, which the ROC currently administers, though the ROC abolished the Xinjiang Provincial Office in 1992. In 1998, after streamlining of the two provinces, some of its powers from the Taiwan and Fujian Provincial Governments were gradually transferred to county governments. This fractured further between 2018 and 2019 when the ROC central government de facto abolished the provincial governments with most of the remaining powers given to the Executive Yuan.

"Lost territories" of China

During the 20th century, China claimed that numerous neighbouring countries and regions in Asia were "lost territories" of China. [12] [13] Many of these "lost territories" were under the rule of Imperial Chinese dynasties or were tributary states. [12] Sun Yat-sen claimed that these territories were lost due to unequal treaties, forceful occupation and annexation, and foreign interference. Chiang Kai-shek and Mao Zedong, among others, were supportive of these claims. [14] China published a series of maps during this time known as a "Map of National Shame" (simplified Chinese :国耻地图; traditional Chinese :國恥地圖; pinyin :Guóchǐ dìtú) which showcased some of the "lost territories" that had links to various Imperial Chinese dynasties.

NameHanzi Pinyin Note
South Tibet [13] (part of modern-day Arunachal Pradesh)藏南 (South Tibet)/

阿鲁纳恰尔邦 (Arunachal Pradesh)

Zàng nán (South Tibet)/

Ā lǔ nà qià ěr bāng (Arunachal Pradesh)

Lost to the British Empire
The Great Northeast (Left bank of Amur River) [13] N/AN/ALost to the Russian Empire
The Great Northeast [13] (Outer Manchuria)N/AN/ALost to the Russian Empire
Bhutan [12] 不丹Bù dānLost to the British Empire
Ryukyu Islands [13] 琉球群岛Liúqiú qúndǎoLost to the Empire of Japan
Annam [13] (modern-day Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos)安南都Ānnán dū hù fǔLost to French Empire
Burma [13] 缅甸MiǎndiànLost to the British Empire
Sikkim [13] 锡金邦Xíjīn bāngLost to the British Empire
Ceylon [12] (Sri Lanka)锡兰Xī lánVisited by Admiral Zheng He in the early 15th century. First colonised by the Portuguese Empire, and much later by the British Empire.
Malaya [13] (part of modern-day Malaysia and Singapore)马来亚Mǎ lái yàLost to the British Empire
Taiwan and Penghu [12] 台湾 (Taiwan)/

澎湖县 (Penghu)

Táiwān (Taiwan)/

Pēnghú xiàn (Penghu)

Lost to the Empire of Japan
Korea [13] 朝鲜CháoxiǎnLost to the Empire of Japan
Pamir Mountains/Ladakh area [13] N/AN/ALost to the Russian Empire and the British Empire
Nepal [12] 尼泊尔Níbó'ěrLost to the British Empire
Thailand [12] 泰国TàiguóBecame independent between British and French territories in 1904
Andaman and Nicobar Islands [13] 安达曼群岛Āndá màn qúndǎoLost to the British Empire
Sulu Archipelago [12] 苏禄群岛Sū lù qúndǎoLost to the Spanish Empire
Sakhalin [13] (in Chinese, Kuye)库页岛 (Kuye)

萨哈林岛 (Sakhalin)

Kùyè dǎo (Kuye)

Sàhālín dǎo (Sakhalin)

Lost to the Russian Empire and the Empire of Japan
Java [12] 爪哇岛Zhǎowā dǎoLost to the Dutch Empire
Borneo [12] (part of modern-day Malaysia, Indonesia and Brunei)婆罗洲Póluó zhōuLost to the British Empire and the Dutch Empire

Economies

The provinces in southeast coastal area of China – such as Jiangsu, Zhejiang, Fujian and (mainly) Guangdong – tend to be more industrialized, with regions in the hinterland less developed.

See also

Related Research Articles

Special administrative regions of China

The special administrative regions (SAR) are one type of provincial-level administrative divisions of the People's Republic of China directly under Central People's Government. As a region, they possess the highest degree of autonomy in China. Despite the relative autonomy that the Central People's Government affords special administrative regions, the National People's Congress is still able to unilaterally write laws in secret for special administrative regions that are not read publicly until they are passed.

Fujian Province of China

Fujian is a province on the southeastern coast of China. Fujian is bordered by Zhejiang to the north, Jiangxi to the west, Guangdong to the south, and the Taiwan Strait to the east. Its capital is Fuzhou, while its largest city by population is Quanzhou, both located near the coast of the Taiwan Strait in the east of the province.

Due to China's large population and area, the administrative divisions of China have consisted of several levels since ancient times. The constitution of China provides for three de jure levels of government. Currently, however, there are five practical levels of local government: the provincial, prefecture, county, township, and village.

Kinmen County in Republic of China

Kinmen, also Quemoy, is a county of the Republic of China (Taiwan) located in the Taiwan Strait between the island of Taiwan and mainland China. The main island of Kinmen County is Kinmen Island. Kinmen is located ten kilometres (6.2 mi) east of Xiamen, a city located on the southeastern coast of China; the two territories are separated by a small bay. Kinmen is 187 kilometres (116 mi) west from the nearest part of the island of Taiwan.

Taiwan, officially known as the Republic of China (ROC), is divided into multi-layered statutory subdivisions. Due to the complex political status of Taiwan, there is a significant difference in the de jure system set out in the original constitution and the de facto system in use today.

Matsu Islands County in Fujian / Fukien, Republic of China

The Matsu Islands are an archipelago of 36 islands and islets in the East China Sea officially named Lienchiang County in the Republic of China (Taiwan). It is the smallest county in the free area of the Republic of China.

A sub-provincial division in the People's Republic of China is like a prefecture-level city that is governed by a province, but is administered independently in regard to economy and law.

Provincial city (Taiwan)

A city, previously provincial city, is an administrative division unit in Taiwan.

Fujian Province, Republic of China Province in Republic of China

Fujian or Fukien Province is a nominal province of the Republic of China without administrative function. It includes three small archipelagos off the coast of the Fujian Province of the People's Republic of China, namely the Matsu Islands, which make up Lienchiang County, and the Wuqiu Islands and Kinmen Islands, which make up Kinmen County. The seat of the provincial government is Jincheng Township of Kinmen County.

Free area of the Republic of China Territories under the control of the Government of the Republic of China

The free area of the Republic of China also known as Taiwan Area of the Republic of China", "Tai-Min Area " or simply the "Taiwan Area" is a term used by the government of the Republic of China (ROC) to refer to the territories under its actual control. The area under the definition consists of the island groups of Taiwan, Penghu, Kinmen, Matsu and some minor islands. This term is used in the "Additional Articles of the Constitution of the Republic of China". The term "Tai-Peng-Kin-Ma" is also essentially equivalent except that it only refers to the islands of Taiwan, Penghu, Kinmen and Matsu Area, to the exclusion of the South China Sea possessions-Pratas Island (Tungsha/Dongsha) and Taiping Island.

Taiwan Province, Peoples Republic of China Claimed province of the Peoples Republic of China

Taiwan Province is a claimed province of the People's Republic of China (PRC). The PRC claims the island of Taiwan to be part of its territory under its Constitution. In combination with the Republic of China-controlled Fujian islands, it is usually referred to by mainland media as the Taiwan Region or Taiwan Area.

Fuding County-level city in Fujian, Peoples Republic of China

Fuding  is a county-level city in northeastern Ningde prefecture level city, on Fujian's border with Zhejiang province.

County (Taiwan)

A county, constitutionally known as a hsien, is an administrative division unit in the Republic of China (Taiwan). Under the administrative structure of Taiwan, it is with the same level of a provincial city. Historically the counties were under the jurisdiction of provinces, but after the streamlining of provinces in 1998, they are all directly led by the central government.

Special municipality (Taiwan)

A special municipality is an administrative division unit in the Republic of China (Taiwan). Under the administrative structure of the ROC, it is the highest rank of division and is equivalent to a province. Since the streamlining of provinces in 1998, the special municipalities along with provincial cities and counties have all been directly under the central government.

Direct-administered municipalities of China

A municipality, formally a municipality under the direct administration of central government, is the highest level of classification for cities used by the People's Republic of China. These cities have the same rank as provinces, and form part of the first tier of administrative divisions of China.

The history of the administrative divisions of China between 1912 and 1949 refers to the administrative divisions under the Republic of China government control.

Administrative divisions of the Yuan dynasty

The Yuan dynasty was a vast empire founded by Mongol leader Kublai Khan in China. During its existence, its territory was divided into the Central Region (腹裏) governed by the Central Secretariat and places under control of various provinces (行省) or Branch Secretariats (行中書省), as well as the region under the Bureau of Buddhist and Tibetan Affairs. In addition, the Yuan emperors held nominal suzerainty over the western Mongol khanates, but in reality none of them were governed by the Yuan dynasty due to the division of the Mongol Empire.

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