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Difference between revisions of "List of Chinese provinces and regions"

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List of Chinese provinces and regions

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(Lower-level divisions: re-order example)
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{{traveltopic}}
 
{{traveltopic}}
  
[[China]] has a fairly complex system of political geography. Most of it is broken up into '''provinces''' (省), but there are several other geographic units of the same hierarchical rank as provinces:
+
[[China]]'s system of political geography differs somewhat from that in other countries. Most of it is broken up into '''provinces''' (省), but there are several other geographic units of the same hierarchical rank as provinces:
  
* Various ethnic groups have '''autonomous regions''' (自治区), although their autonomy is far from complete. For the traveler, these can generally be thought of as provinces, but in political discussions (best avoided!) the distinction may be important.  
+
* Various ethnic groups have '''autonomous regions''' (自治区), although their autonomy is far from complete. For the traveler, these can generally be thought of as provinces, but in political discussions the distinction may be important.  
* Some of the larger '''municipalities''' (市) are not part of provinces, but independent entities whose leaders report directly to Beijing. The smallest of these, [[Tianjin]], has a population well over 10 million. The largest, [[Chongqing]], has over 30 million residents.
+
* Four of the larger '''municipalities''' (市) are not part of provinces, but independent entities whose leaders report directly to Beijing. The smallest of these, [[Tianjin]], has a population well over 10 million. The largest, [[Chongqing]], has over 30 million residents.
 
* [[Hong Kong]] and [[Macau]] are '''special administrative regions''' (SARs, 特别行政区). These are former colonies — Hong Kong British and Macau Portuguese — that rejoined China in the late 90s. Their economies and distinct political systems are allowed to flourish under separate regulatory regimes from the Mainland under the slogan "One country, two systems". The SARs have their own currencies, issue their own visas, and elect their own representative assemblies through a combination of direct and indirect representation.
 
* [[Hong Kong]] and [[Macau]] are '''special administrative regions''' (SARs, 特别行政区). These are former colonies — Hong Kong British and Macau Portuguese — that rejoined China in the late 90s. Their economies and distinct political systems are allowed to flourish under separate regulatory regimes from the Mainland under the slogan "One country, two systems". The SARs have their own currencies, issue their own visas, and elect their own representative assemblies through a combination of direct and indirect representation.
  
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* In pairs Henan/Hebei and Hunan/Hubei Henan/Hebei, nan is South and bei is North. "He" means river, referring to the [[Along the Yellow river | Yellow River]]. "Hu" is lake, referring to the big lake near [[Changde]].
 
* In pairs Henan/Hebei and Hunan/Hubei Henan/Hebei, nan is South and bei is North. "He" means river, referring to the [[Along the Yellow river | Yellow River]]. "Hu" is lake, referring to the big lake near [[Changde]].
  
[[Taiwan]] is a special case. At the end of the Chinese civil war in 1949, the Communists held most of China and the defeated Nationalists held only Taiwan. That situation continues to this day; Taiwan has had a separate government for 60 years. While listed as a province in the P.R.C., from the practical traveller's point of view, it is a separate country with its own visas, currency and so on. However, both governments agree that Taiwan is part of China and both, at least in principle, support reunification.
+
[[Taiwan]] is a special case. At the end of the Chinese civil war in 1949, the Communists held most of China and the defeated Nationalists held only Taiwan, the Pescadores and a few islands in the South China Sea. That situation continues to this day; Taiwan has had a separate government for 60 years. While listed as a province in the P.R.C., from the practical traveler's point of view, it is a separate country with its own visas, currency and so on. However, both governments agree that Taiwan is part of China and both, at least in principle, support reunification.
  
 
== Lower-level divisions ==
 
== Lower-level divisions ==
Line 66: Line 66:
  
 
Within a province or autonomous region political geography can be broken down into:
 
Within a province or autonomous region political geography can be broken down into:
* Prefectures (州) and Prefecture-level Cities (市) - These function similarly to counties in the American political geographic system. Prefectures are predominantly rural while prefecture-level cities are distinguished by their major anchoring urban area, which usually lends its name to the entire area.  
+
* Prefectures (州) and Prefecture-level Cities (市) - Although larger, these function similarly to counties in the American political geographic system. Prefectures are predominantly rural while prefecture-level cities are distinguished by a major anchoring urban area, which usually lends its name to the entire area.  
 
* Counties (县) and County-level Cities (市) - these are subdivisions within prefectures or prefecture-level cities. For major urban areas like Beijing, counties are rural and remote from the city proper. A county-level city will be larger than a township but not major enough to anchor the entire region.
 
* Counties (县) and County-level Cities (市) - these are subdivisions within prefectures or prefecture-level cities. For major urban areas like Beijing, counties are rural and remote from the city proper. A county-level city will be larger than a township but not major enough to anchor the entire region.
 
* Districts (区) and Townships (镇) - Within the urban or suburban area of a prefecture-level city or province-level municipality, the land is further divided into districts. In the countryside, the county is divided into townships which are generally small towns that form the economic center for surrounding villages. In Maoist times, each township formed a commune (人民公社).
 
* Districts (区) and Townships (镇) - Within the urban or suburban area of a prefecture-level city or province-level municipality, the land is further divided into districts. In the countryside, the county is divided into townships which are generally small towns that form the economic center for surrounding villages. In Maoist times, each township formed a commune (人民公社).
 
* Villages (村) or Neighborhoods - These are the smallest units of political organization. Neighborhoods are the most local level of Communist Party organization in an urban area while rural villages are the level for China's experiments with grass-roots democracy since some, under the supervision of the Carter Center, hold free and contested elections for their leaders. Many villages have long-since been absorbed by fast-growing cities and townships.
 
* Villages (村) or Neighborhoods - These are the smallest units of political organization. Neighborhoods are the most local level of Communist Party organization in an urban area while rural villages are the level for China's experiments with grass-roots democracy since some, under the supervision of the Carter Center, hold free and contested elections for their leaders. Many villages have long-since been absorbed by fast-growing cities and townships.
  
For example, in the largest-to-smallest order generally used in China: Guangdong Province - Dongguan City/Prefecture - Qingxi Town - Xie Kang Village  
+
For example, in the largest-to-smallest order generally used in China: Guangdong Province - Dongguan City - Qingxi Town - Xie Kang Village  
  
There is some ambiguity when one uses place names in China. For example "Chengdu" can mean either the city itself or the entire prefecture. Moreover, when a Chinese says "Chengdu is my home town" it might mean his family and his identity papers are from there, rather than that he grew up there.
+
There is some ambiguity when one uses place names in China. For example "Chengdu" can mean either the city itself or the entire prefecture which includes significant amounts of countryside. Moreover, when a Chinese says their hometown is Chengdu, it might mean his family and his identity papers are from there even if he actually lives and grew up elsewhere.
  
 
==Development zones==
 
==Development zones==
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[[Image:Pudong_shanghai.jpg|thumb|right|240px|The skyline of [[Pudong]], [[Shanghai]]]]
 
[[Image:Pudong_shanghai.jpg|thumb|right|240px|The skyline of [[Pudong]], [[Shanghai]]]]
  
There are also '''Special Economic Zones''' (SEZ, 经济特区) set up to encourage development and foreign investment with tax concessions and other government measures. Starting these was one of the first moves in opening up China after Deng Xiaoping came to power in 1978. These areas tend to be prosperous, to have large expatriate communities, and to have more Western restaurants and facilities. They are:
+
There are also '''Special Economic Zones''' (SEZ, 经济特区) set up to encourage development and foreign investment with tax concessions and other government measures. These began in 1980 as a provincial government initiative supported by Deng Xiaoping. SEZs tend to be prosperous, have large expatriate communities, and have more Western restaurants and facilities. They are:
*[[Shenzhen]], [[Zhuhai]] and [[Shantou]] in [[Guangdong]]
+
* The original four: [[Shenzhen]], [[Zhuhai]] and [[Shantou]] in [[Guangdong] and [[Xiamen]] in [[Fujian]]
*[[Xiamen]] in [[Fujian]]
 
 
* The entire island province of [[Hainan]]
 
* The entire island province of [[Hainan]]
 
* The [[Shanghai/Pudong|Pudong]] district of [[Shanghai]]
 
* The [[Shanghai/Pudong|Pudong]] district of [[Shanghai]]
  
Development in these areas has been phenomenal. In 1978, Shenzhen (next to [[Hong Kong]]) and Zhuhai (next to [[Macau]]) were basically groups of fishing villages, with a population of a few hundred thousand each. By 2008, only 30 years later, Shenzhen has a population of nearly 10 million and Zhuhai is approaching 2 million. The other SEZs have also undergone enormous changes. Pudong was mostly farmland a few decades ago, but now has more skyscrapers than New York.
+
Development in these areas has been phenomenal. In 1978, Shenzhen (next to [[Hong Kong]]) and Zhuhai (next to [[Macau]]) were groups of fishing villages, with a population of a few hundred thousand each. By 2008, Shenzhen had a population of 10 million and Zhuhai approached 2 million. The other SEZs have also undergone enormous changes. Pudong was mostly farmland in 1990, but now has more skyscrapers than New York.
  
There are also many other areas where investment is encouraged. The national government started a program in 1984 that opened up 14 coastal cities, and all the capitals of inland provinces or autonomous regions, for investment. There are also many provincial, city, county and township-level programs. However, the SEZs remain the most developed areas with the most advanced administrative systems for investment and spurring economic development.
+
There are also many other areas where investment is encouraged. The national government started a program in 1984 that opened up 14 coastal cities, and all the capitals of inland provinces or autonomous regions, for investment. There are also many provincial, city, county and township-level economic development programs. However, the SEZs remain the most developed areas with the most advanced administrative systems for investment and spurring economic development.
  
 
==Treaty ports and concessions==
 
==Treaty ports and concessions==
When Europeans came to China by sea, from the late 1500s on, the Emperor strictly controlled their trade and movements. For several centuries, the only Western base was the Portuguese colony of [[Macau]], trade was permitted only at Canton ([[Guangzhou]]), and there were a variety of other restrictions.
+
 
 +
When Europeans came to China by sea, from the late 1500s on, the Emperor strictly controlled their trade and movements. For several centuries, the only Western base was the Portuguese colony of [[Macau]], trade was permitted only at Canton ([[Guangzhou]]) under a variety of restrictions.
  
 
After the Chinese defeat in the first Opium War, in 1842, much of that changed. Many of the restrictions were removed and five cities were opened to Western trade — [[Guangzhou]] in [[Guangdong]], [[Xiamen]] and [[Fuzhou]] in [[Fujian]], and [[Ningbo]] and [[Shanghai]] in [[Zhejiang]]. These were known as "treaty ports" because it was a treaty that opened them up. By the same treaty, Britain acquired a Far Eastern base of its own, [[Hong Kong]].
 
After the Chinese defeat in the first Opium War, in 1842, much of that changed. Many of the restrictions were removed and five cities were opened to Western trade — [[Guangzhou]] in [[Guangdong]], [[Xiamen]] and [[Fuzhou]] in [[Fujian]], and [[Ningbo]] and [[Shanghai]] in [[Zhejiang]]. These were known as "treaty ports" because it was a treaty that opened them up. By the same treaty, Britain acquired a Far Eastern base of its own, [[Hong Kong]].
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After the Second Opium War, ending in 1860, other cities were opened to trade, including several inland cities such as [[Nanjing]] and [[Wuhan]].
 
After the Second Opium War, ending in 1860, other cities were opened to trade, including several inland cities such as [[Nanjing]] and [[Wuhan]].
  
Various Western powers also took pieces of China, called concessions, and administered them. Some of the treaties specifically provided that Chinese law did not apply in these areas, or to foreigners in China. To Western powers, this was an obvious precaution against a barbaric system; to many Chinese, it was a deeply felt insult. Several nations had concessions in [[Shanghai]]; today the old [[Shanghai/French Concession|French Concession]] is one of the more elegant tourist attractions. Other towns such as [[Hankou]] (part of [[Wuhan]]) and [[Tianjin]] also had concessions for several nations. Again, these have been or are being remodeled and have become very popular tourist attractions to both Chinese and foreingers. Perfect examples are Shanghai and Qingdao.
+
Various Western powers also took pieces of China, called concessions, and administered them. Some of the treaties specifically provided that Chinese law did not apply in these areas, or to foreigners in China. To Western powers, this was an obvious precaution against a barbaric system; to many Chinese, it was a deeply felt insult. Several nations had concessions in [[Shanghai]]; today the old [[Shanghai/French Concession|French Concession]] is one of the more elegant tourist attractions. Other areas such as [[Hankou]] (part of [[Wuhan]]), Gulangyu in [[Xiamen]], Shamian Dao in [[Guangzhou]] and parts of [[Tianjin]] also had concessions for several nations. These historic areas have been or are being remodeled and have become very popular tourist attractions for both Chinese and foreigners.
  
 
In some areas, only one nation had a concession. These included:
 
In some areas, only one nation had a concession. These included:
  
* Germans in [[Qingdao]], which now makess it's famous beer
+
* Germans in [[Qingdao]], which now makes it's famous beer
 
* French in [[Zhanjiang]], near their IndoChinese colonies
 
* French in [[Zhanjiang]], near their IndoChinese colonies
* Russians with a large naval base in [[Dalian]], then called Port Arthur.
+
* Russians with a large naval base in [[Dalian]], then called Port Arthur, and [[Harbin]] which was a base for their railroad construction.
 
* A British naval base in [[Weihai]], just across from Dalian.  
 
* A British naval base in [[Weihai]], just across from Dalian.  
 +
 
This is not a complete list.
 
This is not a complete list.
  
 
{{Outline}}
 
{{Outline}}

Revision as of 19:53, 20 April 2011

    This article is a travel topic

China's system of political geography differs somewhat from that in other countries. Most of it is broken up into provinces (省), but there are several other geographic units of the same hierarchical rank as provinces:

  • Various ethnic groups have autonomous regions (自治区), although their autonomy is far from complete. For the traveler, these can generally be thought of as provinces, but in political discussions the distinction may be important.
  • Four of the larger municipalities (市) are not part of provinces, but independent entities whose leaders report directly to Beijing. The smallest of these, Tianjin, has a population well over 10 million. The largest, Chongqing, has over 30 million residents.
  • Hong Kong and Macau are special administrative regions (SARs, 特别行政区). These are former colonies — Hong Kong British and Macau Portuguese — that rejoined China in the late 90s. Their economies and distinct political systems are allowed to flourish under separate regulatory regimes from the Mainland under the slogan "One country, two systems". The SARs have their own currencies, issue their own visas, and elect their own representative assemblies through a combination of direct and indirect representation.

Province-level divisions

A full list of province-level divisions is:

Province — capital

Autonomous region — capital


Municipalities


Special Administrative Regions

  • In pairs Guangxi/Guangdong and Shanxi/Shandong, xi is West and dong is East. "Shan" means mountain, referring to Mount Tai.
  • In pairs Henan/Hebei and Hunan/Hubei Henan/Hebei, nan is South and bei is North. "He" means river, referring to the Yellow River. "Hu" is lake, referring to the big lake near Changde.

Taiwan is a special case. At the end of the Chinese civil war in 1949, the Communists held most of China and the defeated Nationalists held only Taiwan, the Pescadores and a few islands in the South China Sea. That situation continues to this day; Taiwan has had a separate government for 60 years. While listed as a province in the P.R.C., from the practical traveler's point of view, it is a separate country with its own visas, currency and so on. However, both governments agree that Taiwan is part of China and both, at least in principle, support reunification.

Lower-level divisions

Some of this structure repeats at a lower level. Provinces and regions are generally broken up into prefectures and prefecture-level cities. Where a given minority or minorities predominate, the prefecture can be an Autonomous Prefecture (自治州) for the various ethnic groups. Within prefectures and cities, autonomous or otherwise, there are also Autonomous Counties (自治县) depending on their ethnic composition.

Within a province or autonomous region political geography can be broken down into:

  • Prefectures (州) and Prefecture-level Cities (市) - Although larger, these function similarly to counties in the American political geographic system. Prefectures are predominantly rural while prefecture-level cities are distinguished by a major anchoring urban area, which usually lends its name to the entire area.
  • Counties (县) and County-level Cities (市) - these are subdivisions within prefectures or prefecture-level cities. For major urban areas like Beijing, counties are rural and remote from the city proper. A county-level city will be larger than a township but not major enough to anchor the entire region.
  • Districts (区) and Townships (镇) - Within the urban or suburban area of a prefecture-level city or province-level municipality, the land is further divided into districts. In the countryside, the county is divided into townships which are generally small towns that form the economic center for surrounding villages. In Maoist times, each township formed a commune (人民公社).
  • Villages (村) or Neighborhoods - These are the smallest units of political organization. Neighborhoods are the most local level of Communist Party organization in an urban area while rural villages are the level for China's experiments with grass-roots democracy since some, under the supervision of the Carter Center, hold free and contested elections for their leaders. Many villages have long-since been absorbed by fast-growing cities and townships.

For example, in the largest-to-smallest order generally used in China: Guangdong Province - Dongguan City - Qingxi Town - Xie Kang Village

There is some ambiguity when one uses place names in China. For example "Chengdu" can mean either the city itself or the entire prefecture which includes significant amounts of countryside. Moreover, when a Chinese says their hometown is Chengdu, it might mean his family and his identity papers are from there even if he actually lives and grew up elsewhere.

Development zones

The skyline of Pudong, Shanghai

There are also Special Economic Zones (SEZ, 经济特区) set up to encourage development and foreign investment with tax concessions and other government measures. These began in 1980 as a provincial government initiative supported by Deng Xiaoping. SEZs tend to be prosperous, have large expatriate communities, and have more Western restaurants and facilities. They are:

Development in these areas has been phenomenal. In 1978, Shenzhen (next to Hong Kong) and Zhuhai (next to Macau) were groups of fishing villages, with a population of a few hundred thousand each. By 2008, Shenzhen had a population of 10 million and Zhuhai approached 2 million. The other SEZs have also undergone enormous changes. Pudong was mostly farmland in 1990, but now has more skyscrapers than New York.

There are also many other areas where investment is encouraged. The national government started a program in 1984 that opened up 14 coastal cities, and all the capitals of inland provinces or autonomous regions, for investment. There are also many provincial, city, county and township-level economic development programs. However, the SEZs remain the most developed areas with the most advanced administrative systems for investment and spurring economic development.

Treaty ports and concessions

When Europeans came to China by sea, from the late 1500s on, the Emperor strictly controlled their trade and movements. For several centuries, the only Western base was the Portuguese colony of Macau, trade was permitted only at Canton (Guangzhou) under a variety of restrictions.

After the Chinese defeat in the first Opium War, in 1842, much of that changed. Many of the restrictions were removed and five cities were opened to Western trade — Guangzhou in Guangdong, Xiamen and Fuzhou in Fujian, and Ningbo and Shanghai in Zhejiang. These were known as "treaty ports" because it was a treaty that opened them up. By the same treaty, Britain acquired a Far Eastern base of its own, Hong Kong.

After the Second Opium War, ending in 1860, other cities were opened to trade, including several inland cities such as Nanjing and Wuhan.

Various Western powers also took pieces of China, called concessions, and administered them. Some of the treaties specifically provided that Chinese law did not apply in these areas, or to foreigners in China. To Western powers, this was an obvious precaution against a barbaric system; to many Chinese, it was a deeply felt insult. Several nations had concessions in Shanghai; today the old French Concession is one of the more elegant tourist attractions. Other areas such as Hankou (part of Wuhan), Gulangyu in Xiamen, Shamian Dao in Guangzhou and parts of Tianjin also had concessions for several nations. These historic areas have been or are being remodeled and have become very popular tourist attractions for both Chinese and foreigners.

In some areas, only one nation had a concession. These included:

  • Germans in Qingdao, which now makes it's famous beer
  • French in Zhanjiang, near their IndoChinese colonies
  • Russians with a large naval base in Dalian, then called Port Arthur, and Harbin which was a base for their railroad construction.
  • A British naval base in Weihai, just across from Dalian.

This is not a complete list.

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