Provinces of China

Provincial-level administrative divisions (Chinese: 省级行政区; pinyin: shěng-jí xíngzhèngqū) or first-level administrative divisions (一级行政区; yī-jí xíngzhèngqū), 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 and a small fraction of Fujian Province (administered by the Republic of China) are in dispute.

Province-level administrative divisions
CategoryUnitary one-party socialist republic
Unitary semi-presidential republic
Location People's Republic of China
 Republic of China (Taiwan)[1]
Created1947 (ROC consitutiton)
Number31 (Direct Jurisdiction) + 2 (Special Administrative Regions) + 1 (Disputed)
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
SubdivisionsSub-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
Tibetanཞིང་ཆེན།
Zhuang name
ZhuangSwngj
Mongolian name
Mongolian scriptᠮᠤᠵᠢ
Uyghur name
Uyghurئۆلكە
Manchu name
Manchu scriptᡤᠣᠯᠣ
Romanizationgolo

Note that every province claimed by the People's Republic of China (except Hong Kong and Macau, the two special administrative regions, as well as the disputed Taiwan Province) 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 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.

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 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 and Itu Aba 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").

Municipality

A municipality (simplified Chinese: 直辖市; traditional Chinese: 直轄市; pinyin: zhíxiáshì; literally: '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

GB/T 2260-2007[5] ISO[6] Province Chinese
Hanyu Pinyin
Capital Population[lower-alpha 1] Density[lower-alpha 2] Area[lower-alpha 3] Abbreviation[lower-alpha 4]
AH CN-AH Anhui Province 安徽省
Ānhuī Shěng
Hefei 59,500,510 425.91 139,700
Wǎn
BJ CN-BJ Beijing Municipality 北京市
Běijīng Shì
Beijing 19,612,368 1,167.40 16,800
Jīng
CQ CN-CQ Chongqing Municipality 重庆市
Chóngqìng Shì
Chongqing 28,846,170 350.50 82,300
FJ CN-FJ Fujian Province[lower-alpha 5] 福建省
Fújiàn Shěng
Fuzhou (PRC)
Jincheng (ROC)[lower-alpha 6]
36,894,216 304.15 121,580
Mǐn
GD CN-GD Guangdong Province 广东省
Guǎngdōng Shěng
Guangzhou 104,303,132 579.46 180,000
Yuè
GS CN-GS Gansu Province 甘肃省
Gānsù Shěng
Lanzhou 25,575,254 56.29 454,300 甘(陇)
Gān (Lǒng)
GX CN-GX Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region 广西壮族自治区
Guǎngxī Zhuàngzú Zìzhìqū
Nanning 46,026,629 195.02 236,000
Guì
GZ CN-GZ Guizhou Province 贵州省
Guìzhōu Shěng
Guiyang 34,746,468 197.42 176,000 贵(黔)
Guì (Qián)
HA (HEN) CN-HA Henan Province 河南省
Hénán Shěng
Zhengzhou 94,023,567 563.01 167,000 豫(予)
HB (HUB) CN-HB Hubei Province 湖北省
Húběi Shěng
Wuhan 57,237,740 307.89 185,900
È
HE (HEB) CN-HE Hebei Province 河北省
Héběi Shěng
Shijiazhuang 71,854,202 382.81 187,700
HI CN-HI Hainan Province 海南省
Hǎinán Shěng
Haikou 9,171,300[8] 255.04 34,000
Qióng
HK CN-HK[lower-alpha 7] Hong Kong Special Administrative Region 香港特别行政区
Xiānggǎng Tèbié Xíngzhèngqū
Hong Kong 7,061,200 6,396.01 1,108
Gǎng
HL CN-HL Heilongjiang Province 黑龙江省
Hēilóngjiāng Shěng
Harbin 38,312,224 84.38 454,000
Hēi
HN (HUN) CN-HN Hunan Province 湖南省
Húnán Shěng
Changsha 65,683,722 312.77 210,000
Xiāng
JL CN-JL Jilin Province 吉林省
Jílín Shěng
Changchun 27,462,297 146.54 187,400
JS CN-JS Jiangsu Province 江苏省
Jiāngsū Shěng
Nanjing 78,659,903 766.66 102,600
JX CN-JX Jiangxi Province 江西省
Jiāngxī Shěng
Nanchang 44,567,475 266.87 167,000 赣(干)
Gàn
LN CN-LN Liaoning Province 辽宁省
Liáoníng Shěng
Shenyang 43,746,323 299.83 145,900
Liáo
MO CN-MO[lower-alpha 8] Macau Special Administrative Region 澳门特别行政区
Àomén Tèbié Xíngzhèngqū
Macau 552,300 19,044.82 115 澳(沃)
Ào
NM CN-NM Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region 內蒙古自治区
Nèi Měnggǔ Zìzhìqū
Hohhot 24,706,321 20.88 1,183,000
Měng
NX CN-NX Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region 宁夏回族自治区
Níngxià Huízú Zìzhìqū
Yinchuan 6,301,350 94.89 66,400
Níng
QH CN-QH Qinghai Province 青海省
Qīnghǎi Shěng
Xining 5,626,722 7.80 721,200
Qīng
SC CN-SC Sichuan Province 四川省
Sìchuān Shěng
Chengdu 80,418,200 165.81 485,000 川(蜀)
Chuān (Shǔ)
SD CN-SD Shandong Province 山东省
Shāndōng Shěng
Jinan 95,793,065 622.84 153,800
SH CN-SH Shanghai Municipality 上海市
Shànghǎi Shì
Shanghai 23,019,148 3,630.20 6,341
SN (SAA) CN-SN Shaanxi Province 陕西省
Shǎnxī Shěng
Xi'an 37,327,378 181.55 205,600 陕(秦)
Shǎn (Qín)
SX (SAX) CN-SX Shanxi Province 山西省
Shānxī Shěng
Taiyuan 35,712,111 228.48 156,300
Jìn
TJ CN-TJ Tianjin Municipality 天津市
Tiānjīn Shì
Tianjin 12,938,224 1,144.46 11,305
Jīn
TW CN-TW[lower-alpha 9] Taiwan Province[lower-alpha 10] 台湾省
Táiwān Shěng
Taipei (PRC Claimed)
Zhongxing New Village (ROC)[lower-alpha 11]
23,162,123 650.97 36,161
Tái
XJ CN-XJ Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region 新疆维吾尔自治区
Xīnjiāng Wéiwú'ěr Zìzhìqū
Ürümqi 21,813,334 13.13 1,660,400
Xīn
XZ CN-XZ Tibet Autonomous Region 西藏自治区
Xīzàng Zìzhìqū
Lhasa 3,002,166 2.44 1,228,400 藏(䒙)
Zàng
YN CN-YN Yunnan Province 云南省
Yúnnán Shěng
Kunming 45,966,239 116.66 394,000 云(滇)
Yún (Diān)
ZJ CN-ZJ Zhejiang Province 浙江省
Zhèjiāng Shěng
Hangzhou 54,426,891 533.59 102,000
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 Republic of China (ROC) retains control of the Kinmen and Matsu archipelagos 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 governement 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. Has separate ISO 3166-2 code: HK
  8. Has separate ISO 3166-2 code: MO
  9. Has separate ISO 3166-2 code: TW
  10. The People's Republic of China considers Taiwan to be its 23rd province, but Taiwan is currently administrated by the Republic of China. See Political status of Taiwan
  11. 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 abolishd, with budget and personnel removed.[9]

History

Sui provinces

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.[10]

Provinces of the Sui dynasty
NameTraditional
Chinese
Simplified
Chinese
PinyinCapitalApproximate extent in terms of modern locations
Ancient nameModern location
Yongzhou雍州雍州Yōngzhōu??Guanzhong, Gansu, and the Upper Yellow basin
Jizhou冀州冀州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青州青州Qīngzhōu??Shandong Peninsula
Yuzhou豫州豫州Yùzhōu??Henan
Xuzhou徐州徐州Xúzhōu??Modern Xuzhou area- southern Shandong and northern Jiangsu
Liangzhou梁州梁州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

Emperor Taizong (r. 626–649) set up 10 "circuits" (道, 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 (都督府, dūdū fǔ), and 358 prefectures (州 and later 府, ).[11] 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.[12]


Circuits of the Tang dynasty
NameTraditional
Chinese
Simplified
Chinese
PinyinCapitalApproximate extent in terms of modern locations
Ancient nameModern location
Duji*都畿都畿DūjīHenan FuLuoyangLuoyang and environs
Guannei關內关内GuānnèiJingzhao FuXi'annorthern Shaanxi, central Inner Mongolia, Ningxia
Hebei河北河北HéběiWeizhouWei County, HebeiHebei
Hedong河東河东HédōngPuzhouPuzhou, Yongji, ShanxiShanxi
Henan河南河南HénánBianzhouKaifengHenan, Shandong, northern Jiangsu, northern Anhui
Huainan淮南淮南HuáinánYangzhoucentral Jiangsu, central Anhui
Jiannan劍南剑南JiànnánYizhouChengducentral Sichuan, central Yunnan
Jiangnan江南江南JiāngnánJiangnanxi + Jiangnandong (see map)
Qianzhong**黔中黔中QiánzhōngQianzhouPengshuiGuizhou, western Hunan
Jiangnanxi**江南西江南西JiāngnánxīHongzhouNanchangJiangxi, Hunan, southern Anhui, southern Hubei
Jiangnandong**江南東江南东JiāngnándōngSuzhousouthern Jiangsu, Zhejiang, Fujian, Shanghai
Jingji*京畿京畿JīngjīJingzhao FuXi'anXi'an and environs
Lingnan嶺南岭南LǐngnánGuangzhouGuangdong, eastern Guangxi, northern Vietnam
Longyou隴右陇右LǒngyouShanzhouLedu County, QinghaiGansu
Shannan山南山南ShānnánShannanxi + Shannandong (see map)
Shannanxi**山南西山南西ShānnánxīLiangzhouHanzhongsouthern Shanxi, eastern Sichuan, Chongqing
Shannandong**山南東山南东ShānnándōngXiangzhouXiangfansouthern 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

The Song government abolished the previous commissioners and renamed their circuits 路 (lù, literally meaning "roads", but however is still usually translated into English as "circuits"). They also added a number of "army" prefectures (軍/军, 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成都府成都府ChéngdūfǔChengducentral Sichuan
Fujian福建福建FújiànFuzhouFujian
Guangnan East廣南東广南东GuǎngnándōngGuangzhoueastern Guangdong
Guangnan West廣南西广南西GuǎngnánxīGuizhouGuilinwestern Guangdong, Guangxi, Hainan
Hebei East河北東河北东HéběidōngBeijingDaming County, Hebeieastern Hebei
Hebei West河北西河北西HéběixīZhendingZhengding County, Hebeiwestern Hebei
Hedong河東河东HédōngTaiyuanShanxi
Huainan East淮南東淮南东HuáinándōngYangzhoucentral Jiangsu
Huainan West淮南西淮南西HuáinánxīShouzhouFengtai County, Anhuicentral Anhui
Jiangnan East江南東江南东JiāngnándōngJiangning FuNanjingsouthern Anhui
Jiangnan West江南西江南西JiāngnánxīHongzhouNanchangJiangxi
Jingdong East京東東京东东JīngdōngdōngQingzhouQingzhou, Shandongeastern Shandong
Jingdong West京東西京东西JīngdōngxīNanjingsouth of Shangqiu, Henanwestern Shandong
Jinghu North荊湖北荆湖北JīnghúběiJianglingHubei, western Hunan
Jinghu South荊湖南荆湖南JīnghúnánTanzhouChangshaHunan
Jingji京畿京畿JīngjīChenliuChenliu, Kaifeng, HenanKaifeng and environs
Jingxi North京西北京西北JīngxīběiXijingLuoyangcentral Henan
Jingxi South京西南京西南JīngxīnánXiangzhouXiangfansouthern Henan, northern Hubei
Kuizhou夔州夔州KuízhōuKuizhouFengjie County, ChongqingChongqing, eastern Sichuan, Guizhou
Liangzhe兩浙两浙LiǎngzhèHangzhouZhejiang, southern Jiangsu, Shanghai
Lizhou利州利州LìzhōuXingyuanHanzhongnorthern Sichuan, southern Shaanxi
Qinfeng秦鳳秦凤QínfèngQinzhouTianshuisouthern Gansu
Yongxingjun永興軍永兴军YǒngxīngjūnJingzhaoXi'anShaanxi
Zizhou梓州梓州ZǐzhōuZizhouSantai County, Sichuancentral southern Sichuan

Yuan provinces

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).

Province Provincial seat Notes
English Chinese Pinyin English Chinese Pinyin Modern location
Gansu 甘肅 (甘肃) Gānsù Ganzhou Circuit 甘州路 Gānzhōu Lù Zhangye Consist of modern location of Gansu, Ningxia, & eastern Inner Mongolia.
Huguang 湖廣 (湖广) Húguǎng Wuchang 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 Hénánjiāngběi Bianliang Circuit 汴梁路 Biànliáng Lù Kaifeng Consist of modern location of Henan, northern Hubei, northern Jiangsu, & northern Anhui.
Jiangxi 江西 Jiāngxī Longxing Circuit 龍興路 (龙兴路) Lóngxìng Lù Nanchang Consist of modern location of Jiangxi & eastern Guangdong.
Jiangzhe 江浙 Jiāngzhè Hangzhou Circuit 杭州路 Hángzhōu Lù Hangzhou Consist of modern location of Shanghai, Zhejiang, Fujian, southern Jiangsu, & southern Anhui.
Liaoyang 遼陽 (辽阳) Liáoyáng Liaoyang 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) Lǐngběi Hening Circuit 和寧路 (和宁路) Héníng Lù Kharkhorin Consist of modern location of Mongolia & southern Siberia.
Shaanxi 陝西 (陕西) Shǎnxi Fengyuan Circuit 奉元路 Fèngyuán Lù Xi'an Consist of modern location of Shaanxi & mid-western Sichuan
Sichuan 四川 Sìchuān Chengdu Circuit 成都路 Chéngdū Lù Chengdu Consist of modern location of western Sichuan & Chongqing
Yunnan 雲南 (云南) Yúnnán Zhongqing Circuit 中慶路 (中庆路) Zhōngqìng Lù Kunming Consist of modern location of Yunnan and Upper Myanmar.
Zhengdong 征東 (征东) Zhēngdōng Kaicheng 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 Shěng none Consist 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 Yuàn none Consist 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

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.

Province Provincial seat Notes
English Chinese Pinyin English Chinese Pinyin
Fujian 福建 Fújiàn Fuzhou Prefecture 福州府 Fúzhōu Fǔ
Guangdong 廣東 (广东) Guǎngdōng Guangzhou Prefecture 廣州府 (广州府) Guǎngzhōu Gǔ
Guangxi 廣西 (广西) Guǎngxī Guilin Prefecture 桂林府 Guìlín Fǔ
Guizhou 貴州 (贵州) Guìzhōu Guiyang Prefecture 貴陽府 (贵阳府) Guìyáng Fǔ
Henan 河南 Hénán Kaifeng Prefecture 開封府 (开封府) Kāifēng Fǔ
Huguang 湖廣 (湖广) Húguǎng Wuchang Prefecture 武昌府 Wǔchāng Fǔ Consist of modern location of Hunan & Hubei.
Provincial seat modern location is Wuhan.
Jiangxi 江西 Jiāngxī Nanchang Prefecture 南昌府 Nánchāng Fǔ
Shaanxi 陝西 (陕西) Shǎnxī Xi'an Prefecture 西安府 Xī'ān Fǔ Consist of modern location of Shaanxi, Gansu, & Ningxia.
Shandong 山東 (山东) Shāndōng Jinan Prefecture 濟南府 (济南府) Jǐnán Fǔ
Shanxi 山西 Shānxī Taiyuan Prefecture 太原府 Tàiyuán Fǔ
Sichuan 四川 Sìchuān Chengdu Prefecture 成都府 Chéngdū Fǔ Consist of modern location of Chongqing & eastern Sichuan.
Yunnan 雲南 (云南) Yúnnán Yunnan Prefecture 雲南府 (云南府) Yúnnán Fǔ Provincial seat modern location is Kunming.
Zhejiang 浙江 Zhèjiāng Hangzhou Prefecture 杭州府 Hángzhōu Fǔ
Jiaozhi 交趾 Jiāozhǐ Jiaozhou Prefecture 交州府 Jiāozhōu Fǔ Consist of modern location of northern Vietnam.
1407–1428
North Zhili 北直隸 (北直隶) Běizhílì Shuntian Prefecture 順天府 (顺天府) Shùntiān Fǔ Consist of modern location of Beijing, Tianjin, & Hebei.
Provincial seat modern location is Beijing.
South Zhili 南直隸 (南直隶) Nánzhílì Yingtian Prefecture 應天府 (应天府) Yìngtiān Fǔ Consist of modern location of Shanghai, Jiangsu, & Anhui.
Provincial seat modern location is Nanjing.
Nurgan* 奴兒干 (奴儿干) Nú'ergàn none Consist of modern location of Heilongjiang, Jilin, central-eastern Inner Mongolia, & Outer Manchuria.
1409–1616
Liaodong* 遼東 (辽东) Liáodōng none Consist of modern location of Liaoning.
1375–1621
Ü-Tsang* 烏斯藏 (乌斯藏) Wūsīzàng none Consist of modern location of Tibet.
1372–1565
Dokham* 朵甘 Duǒgān none Consist of modern location of Qinghai & western Sichuan.
1372–1644
Elis* 俄力思 Élìsī none Consist 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

NameHanziPinyinTranslationCapitalHanziNotes
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

NameHanziPinyinAbbreviationCapitalHanziNote
Andong安东Āndōng ānTonghua通化1949 abolished → Liaodong, Jilin
Anhui安徽Ānhuī wǎnHefei合肥1949 abolished → Wanbei, Wannan; 1952 reverted
Chahar察哈尔Cháhā'ěr cháZhangjiakou张家口1952 abolished → Inner Mongolia, Hebei
Fujian福建Fújiàn mǐnFuzhou (PRC)
Jincheng (ROC)
福州parts of the Fujian Province consisting of Kinmen and Matsu are retained by the ROC
Gansu甘肃Gānsù gānLanzhou兰州1958 Ningxia split into its own autonomous region
Guangdong广东Guǎngdōng yuèGuangzhou广州1952 & 1965 Fangchenggang, Qinzhou, Beihai → Guangxi; 1955 reverted
1988 Hainan split into its own province
Guangxi广西Guǎngxī guìNanning南宁1958 province → autonomous region
Guizhou贵州Guìzhōu qiánGuiyang贵阳
Hainan海南Hǎinán qióngHaikou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Hēilóngjiāng hēiQiqihar (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Húběi èWuhan武汉
Hunan湖南Húnán xiāngChangsha长沙
Jiangsu江苏Jiāngsū Nanjing南京1949 abolished → Subei, Subnan; 1952 reverted
Jiangxi江西Jiāngxī gànNanchang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Liáoběi táoLiaoyuan辽源1949 abolished → Jilin, Liaoning
Liaodong辽东Liáodōng guānDandong丹东1954 abolished → Liaoning
Liaoning辽宁Liáoníng liáoShenyang沈阳1949 abolished → Liaodong, Liaoxi; 1954 reverted
1952 north part split into Inner Mongolia
Liaoxi辽西Liáoxī liáoJinzhou锦州1954 abolished → Liaoning
Nenjiang嫩江Nènjiāng nènQiqihar齐齐哈尔1949 abolished → Heilongjiang
Ningxia宁夏Níngxià níngYinchuan银川1954 province → Gansu
Mudanjiang牡丹江Mǔdānjiāng dānMudanjiang牡丹江1949 abolished → Heilongjiang
Pingyuan平原Píngyuán píngXinxiang新乡1952 abolished → Henan, Shandong
Qinghai青海Qīnghǎi qīngXining西宁
Rehe热河Rèhé Chengde承德1955 abolished → Inner Mongolia, & Liaoning
Sichuan四川Sìchuān chuānChengdu成都1949 abolished → Chuanbei, Chuandong, Chuannan, Chuanxi; 1952 reverted
1997 Chongqing split into its own municipality
Shaanxi陕西Shǎnxī shǎnXi'an西安
Shandong山东Shāndōng Jinan济南
Shanxi山西Shānxī jìnTaiyuan太原
Songjiang松江Sōngjiāng sōngHarbin哈尔滨1954 abolished → Heilongjiang
Suiyuan绥远Suíyuǎn suíHohhot呼和浩特1954 abolished → Inner Mongolia
Taiwan台湾Táiwān táiTaipei
Zhongxing New Village (ROC only)
台北claimed since 1949 the founding of the PRC
Xikang西康Xīkāng kāngKangding (1949–50)
Ya'an (1950–55)
康定
雅安
1955 abolished → Sichuan, Yunnan, Tibet Autonomous Region
Xing'an兴安Xīng'ān xīngHulunbuir呼伦贝尔1949 abolished → Heilongjiang
Xinjiang新疆Xīnjiāng jiāngÜrümqi乌鲁木齐1955 province → autonomous region
Yunnan云南Yúnnán diānKunming昆明
Zhejiang浙江Zhèjiāng zhèHangzhou杭州

Autonomous regions

NameHanziPinyinAbbreviationCapitalHanziNote
Guangxi广西Guǎngxī guìNanning南宁1958 province → autonomous region
Inner Mongolia内蒙古Nèi Měnggǔ měngUlaanhot (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Níngxià níngYinchuan银川1958 special region → autonomous region
Tibet西藏Xīzàng zàngLhasa拉萨1965 area → autonomous region
Xinjiang新疆Xīnjiāng jiāngÜrümqi乌鲁木齐1955 province → autonomous region

Municipalities

NameHanziPinyinAbbreviationCapitalHanziNote
Anshan鞍山Ānshān ānTiedong District铁东区1954 abolished → Liaoning
Beijing北京Běijīng jīngDongcheng District
Tongzhou District
东城区
通州区
Benxi本溪Běnxī běnPingshan District平山区1954 abolished → Liaoning
Changchun长春Chángchūn chūnNanguan District南关区1953 created; 1954 abolished → Jilin
Chongqing重庆Chóngqìng Yuzhong District渝中区1954 abolished → Sichuan; 1997 reverted
Dalian → Lüda大连→旅大Dàlián liánXigang 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Guǎngzhōu suìYuexiu District越秀区1954 abolished → Guangdong
Harbin哈尔滨Hā'ěrbīn Nangang District南岗区1953 created, 1954 abolished → Heilongjiang
Nanjing南京Nánjīng níngXuanwu District玄武区1952 abolished → Jiangsu
Shanghai上海Shànghǎi Huangpu District黄浦区
Shenyang沈阳Shěnyáng shěnShenhe District沈河区1954 abolished → Liaoning
Tianjin天津Tiānjīn jīnHeping District和平区1954 abolished → Hebei, 1967 reverted
Hankou → Wuhan汉口→武汉Wǔhàn hànJiang'an District江岸区1949 abolished → Hubei
Xi'an西安Xī'ān hàoWeiyang District未央区1954 abolished → Shaanxi

Special administrative regions

NameHanziPinyinAbbreviationCapitalHanziNote
Hong Kong香港Xiānggǎng gǎngHong Kong香港created 1997 (Transfer of sovereignty over Hong Kong)
Macau澳门Àomén àoMacau澳门created 1999 (Transfer of sovereignty over Macau)

Administrative territories

NameHanziPinyinAbbreviationCapitalHanziNote
Chuanbei川北Chuānběi chōngNanchong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Chuānxī róngChengdu成都1950 created; 1952 abolished → Sichuan
Hainan海南Hǎinán qióngHaikou海口1949 abolished → Guangdong
Lüda旅大Lǚdà Dalian大连1949 created; 1950 abolished → Dalian
Subei苏北Sūběi yángYangzhou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

NameHanziPinyinAbbreviationCapitalHanziNote
Tibet西藏Xīzàng zàngLhasa拉萨1965 region → autonomous region

Territories

NameHanziPinyinAbbreviationCapitalHanziNote
Qamdo昌都Chāngdū chāngQamdo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.[13][14] Many of these "lost territories" were under the rule of Imperial Chinese dynasties or were tributary states.[13] 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.[15] 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.

NameHanziPinyinNote
South Tibet[14] (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)[14]N/AN/ALost to the Russian Empire
The Great Northeast[14] (Outer Manchuria)N/AN/ALost to the Russian Empire
Bhutan[13]不丹Bù dānLost to the British Empire
Ryukyu Islands[14]琉球群岛Liúqiú qúndǎoLost to the Empire of Japan
Annam[14] (modern-day Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos)安南都Ānnán dū hù fǔLost to French Empire
Burma[14]缅甸MiǎndiànLost to the British Empire
Sikkim[14]锡金邦Xíjīn bāngLost to the British Empire
Ceylon[13] (Sri Lanka)锡兰Xī lánLost to the British Empire
Malaya[14] (part of modern-day Malaysia and Singapore)马来亚Mǎ lái yàLost to the British Empire
Taiwan and Penghu[13]台湾 (Taiwan)/

澎湖县 (Penghu)

Táiwān (Taiwan)/

Pēnghú xiàn (Penghu

Lost to the Empire of Japan
Korea[14]朝鲜CháoxiǎnLost to the Empire of Japan
Pamir Mountains/Ladakh area[14]N/AN/ALost to the Russian Empire and the British Empire
Nepal[13]尼泊尔Níbó'ěrLost to the British Empire
Thailand[13]泰国TàiguóBecame independent under joint Anglo-French control in 1904
Andaman Islands[14]安达曼群岛Āndá màn qúndǎoLost to the British Empire
Sulu Archipelago[13]苏禄群岛Sū lù qúndǎoLost to the Spanish Empire
Sakhalin[14] (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[13]爪哇岛Zhǎowā dǎoLost to the Dutch Empire
Borneo[13] (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 south coastal area of China—such as Zhejiang, Jiangsu, Fujian and (mainly) Guangdong—tend to be more industrialized, with regions in the hinterland less developed.

See also

References

  1. Hwang, Jim (October 1999). "Gone with the Times". Taiwan Review. Archived from the original on 2012-02-26. Retrieved 2012-01-11.
  2. "Macao in Figures". Government of the Macao Special Administrative Region Statistics and Census Service. 2016. Archived from the original on 2018-11-05. Retrieved 2018-08-15.
  3. 6-1 自然资源划 [6-1 Overview of natural resources] (in Chinese). Xinjiang Bureau of Statistics. Archived from the original on 2015-12-22. Retrieved 19 December 2015.
  4. 省委书记能任免省长吗?省委书记和省长的级别谁大. 周公网讯网. Archived from the original on 2017-09-17. Retrieved 2018-08-20.
  5. "GB/T 2260 codes for the provinces of China". Archived from the original on 2004-03-05. Retrieved 2011-10-30.
  6. ISO 3166-2:CN (ISO 3166-2 codes for the provinces of China)
  7. "Taiwan Provincial Government Official Website". Retrieved 17 July 2018.
  8. "Doing Business in China – Survey". Ministry Of Commerce – People's Republic Of China. Archived from the original on 2013-08-05. Retrieved 5 August 2013.
  9. "Taiwan Provincial Government Official Website". Retrieved 17 July 2018.
  10. "What were the ancient 9 provinces?" on www.chinahistoryforum.com
  11. Twitchett 1979, pp. 203, 205.
  12. Twitchett 1979, p. 404.
  13. Tseng, Hui-Yi (2017). Revolution, State Succession, International Treaties and the Diaoyu/Diaoyutai Islands. Cambridge Scholars Publishing. p. 66. ISBN 9781443893688.
  14. Kim, Samuel S. (1979). China, the United Nations, and World Order. Princeton University Press. p. 43. ISBN 9780691100760.
  15. Tzou, Byron N. (1990). China and International Law: The Boundary Disputes. Praeger. p. 77. ISBN 9780275934620.
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