Sub-provincial division

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A sub-provincial division (simplified Chinese : 副省级 ; traditional Chinese : 副省級 ; pinyin : fùshĕngjí xíngzhèngqū ) (or deputy-provincial divisions) in China is like a prefecture-level city that is governed by a province, but is administered independently in regard to economy and law.

Sub-provincial divisions, similar to prefectural-level divisions, are administrative units comprising, typically, a main central urban area, and its much larger surrounding rural area containing many smaller cities, towns and villages.

The mayor or chairman of a sub-provincial division is equal in status to a vice-governor of a province. Its status is below that of municipalities, which are independent and equivalent to provinces, but above other, regular prefecture-level divisions, which are completely ruled by their provinces. However, they are marked the same as other provincial capitals (or prefecture-level city if not provincial capital) in almost all maps.

Map of sub-provincial level entries in China

Map of Sub-provincial level entries in China
Map of Sub-provincial level entries in the People's Republic of China.png

Sub-provincial municipalities

The original 16 municipalities were renamed as the sub-provincial municipalities on 25 February 1994 by the Central Organization Committee out of the prefecture-level municipalities. [1] They are mostly the capitals of the provinces in which they are located.

Currently, there are 15 sub-provincial municipalities after Chongqing was designated direct-control: [2]

Sub-provincial municipalities of China [3]
Division name Simplified Chinese Hanyu Pinyin Province AbbreviationRegionPopulation (2010 Census)Date of designationSubdivision
Changchun 长春 Chángchūn Jilin Northeast 7,677,0891989-02-117 districts, 2 county municipalities & 1 county
Chengdu 成都 Chéngdū Sichuan Southwest 14,047,6251989-02-1111 districts, 4 county municipalities & 5 counties
Dalian 大连 Dàlián Liaoning 连(鲲) Northeast 6,690,4321984-07-137 districts, 2 county municipalities & 1 county
Guangzhou 广州 Guǎngzhōu Guangdong South Central 12,700,8001984-10-0511 districts
Hangzhou 杭州 Hángzhōu Zhejiang East 8,700,4001994-02-2510 districts, 1 county municipality & 2 counties
Harbin 哈尔滨 Hā'ěrbīn Heilongjiang Northeast 10,635,9711984-10-059 districts, 2 county municipalities & 7 counties
Jinan 济南 Jǐnán Shandong East 6,814,0001994-02-257 districts & 3 counties
Nanjing 南京 Nánjīng Jiangsu East 8,001,6801989-02-1111 districts
Ningbo 宁波 Níngbō Zhejiang East 7,605,6891987-02-246 districts, 2 county municipalities & 2 counties
Qingdao 青岛 Qīngdǎo Shandong East 8,715,1001986-10-157 districts & 3 county municipalities
Shenyang 沈阳 Shěnyáng Liaoning Northeast 8,106,1711984-07-1110 districts, 1 county municipality & 2 counties
Shenzhen 深圳 Shēnzhèn Guangdong 深(鹏) South Central 10,357,9381988-10-038 districts (4 new districts)
Wuhan 武汉 Wǔhàn Hubei South Central 9,785,3921984-05-2113 districts
Xi'an 西安 Xī'ān Shaanxi Northwest 8,467,8371984-10-0511 districts & 2 counties
Xiamen 厦门 Xiàmén Fujian East 3,531,3471988-04-186 districts

Chongqing was formerly a sub-provincial municipality of Sichuan until 14 March 1997, when it was made an independent municipality by splitting it out of Sichuan altogether. The Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps also has the powers of a sub-provincial division.

Chengdu is the largest sub-provincial municipality. It has a population exceeding that of the independent municipality of Tianjin while both Harbin and Chengdu have a bigger land area than Tianjin.

In total, there are five sub-provincial municipalities that are not themselves provincial capitals. These five municipalities have been designated as the "Municipalities with Independent Planning Status" (simplified Chinese :计划单列市; traditional Chinese :計劃單列市; pinyin :Jìhuá Dānliè Shì).

Sub-provincial new areas

Additionally, the head of Pudong New Area of Shanghai and Binhai New Area of Tianjin, which is a county-level district, is given sub-provincial powers.

Sub-provincial districts of China [3]
Division nameSimplified ChineseHanyu PinyinMunicipalityAbbreviationRegionPopulation (2010 Census)Date of designationSubdivision
Binhai New Area 滨海 新区 Bīnhǎi Xīn Qū Tianjin 滨海 North 2,482,065200919 Subdistricts & 7 towns (11 special township-level zones)
Pudong New Area 浦东 新区 Pǔdōng Xīn Qū Shanghai 浦东 East 5,044,430199213 Subdistricts & 25 towns (6 special township-level zones)

Sub-provincial autonomous prefecture

Ili Kazakh Autonomous Prefecture has both two prefectures of Altai and Tacheng and 11 county-level administrative divisions under its jurisdiction and in its legal status itself is only a prefecture-level division, which is a special case in China's administrative divisions. It is not accurate to regard Ili Kazakh Autonomous Region as a sub-provincial administrative division, which has no legal basis.

Sub-provincial autonomous prefecture of China [3]
Division nameSimplified ChineseHanyu PinyinProvinceAbbreviationRegionPopulation (2010 Census)Date of designationSubdivision
Ili Kazakh Autonomous Prefecture 伊犁 哈萨克 自治州 Yīlí Hāsàkè Zìzhìzhōu Xinjiang 伊犁 Northwest 4,305,1191979(2 prefectures) 5 county cities, 17 counties & 2 autonomous counties

Sub-provincial Municipal Conference

The National Joint Conference of Sub-provincial City People's Congress Standing Committee Chairpersons (全国副省级城市人大常委会主任联席会议) are attended by the chairpersons and vice-chairpersons of all sub-provincial cities. It was proposed by the Guangzhou Municipal People's Congress in 1985. The conferences:

  1. Guangzhou (26 February – 4 March 1985)
  2. Harbin (27–31 August 1985)
  3. Wuhan (20–24 May 1986)
  4. Dalian (10–14 August 1987)
  5. Xi'an (9–13 September 1988)
  6. Shenyang (13–17 August 1990)
  7. Chongqing (22–26 November 1991)
  8. Qingdao (3–7 May 1992)
  9. Shenzhen (25–28 October 1993)
  10. Nanjing (1–4 November 1994)
  11. Changchun (21–24 May 1995)
  12. Hangzhou (20–24 October 1996)
  13. Jinan (19–25 October 1997)
  14. Xiamen (12–16 October 1998)
  15. Ningbo (17–20 October 1999)
  16. Chengdu (10–13 October 2000)
  17. Guangzhou (30 October – 3 November 2001)
  18. Harbin (23–26 July 2002)
  19. Wuhan (8–12 October 2003)
  20. Shenyang (31 August – 6 September 2004)
  21. Qingdao (6–8 September 2005)
  22. Shenzhen (20–23 October 2006)
  23. Dalian (14–16 August 2007)
  24. Xi'an (13–16 April 2009)
  25. Nanjing (18–20 October 2010)
  26. Changchun (22–25 August 2011)

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  1. 中央机构编制委员会印发《关于副省级市若干问题的意见》的通知. 中编发[1995]5号. 豆丁网. 1995-02-19. Archived from the original on 2014-05-29. Retrieved 2014-05-28.
  2. Xue Hongli (薛宏莉) (2008-05-07). 15个副省级城市中 哈尔滨市房价涨幅排列第五名 [Prices rose in 15 sub-provincial cities, Harbin ranked fifth]. 哈尔滨地产 (in Chinese). Sohu. Retrieved 2008-06-11.
  3. 1 2 3 References and details on data provided in the table can be found within the individual municipality articles.