Province (China)

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Administrative divisions of the
People's Republic of China
This article is part
of the series:
Political divisions of China
Province level
Autonomous areas
Special Administrative Regions
Prefecture level
Autonomous prefectures
Prefecture-level cities
(incl. Sub-provincial cities)
County level
Autonomous counties
County-level cities
(incl. Sub-prefecture-level cities)
City districts
Autonomous banners
Township level
Ethnic townships
Ethnic sumu
County districts

A province, in the context of China, is a translation of Sheng (Chinese: ; pinyin: Shěng), which is an administrative division of China. The equivalent in some Muslim countries is a wilayah. Together with municipalities and autonomous regions, provinces make up the first level (known as the province level) of administrative division in mainland China. The Special Administrative Regions of Hong Kong and Macau are often said to be province-level as well, though in reality they have much more autonomy than regular provinces, autonomous regions, or municipalities.

Theoretically, provinces are also the first level division of the Republic of China on Taiwan, though this role has been greatly diminished.

The People's Republic of China currently administers 22 provinces, out of a total of 33 province level divisions, and claims, but does not administer, the 23rd province of Taiwan. The Republic of China on Taiwan administers and controls the entirety of Taiwan, as well as some offshore islands, including Kinmen and Matsu (administered under the ROC province of Fujian), very near to Fujian province of the People's Republic of China (PRC), as well as the capital city of Taipei and the municipality of Kaohsiung.

In the People's Republic of China (PRC), every province has a Communist Party of China provincial committee, headed by a secretary. The committee secretary is first-in-charge of the province, rather than the governor of the provincial government.


[edit] Alternative meanings

"Province" is also a translation of Zhou, a division of the Han Dynasty, as well as circuits, a division of the Tang Dynasty and Song Dynasty.

See History of the political divisions of China.

[edit] List and map

Administrative divisions of the People's Republic of China

Provinces administered by the People's Republic of China
Name Chinese (S) pinyin Abbreviation Capital Chinese pinyin List of county-level divisions
Anhui 安徽 Ānhuī 皖 wǎn Hefei 合肥 Héféi List of county-level divisions
Fujian 福建 Fújiàn 闽 mǐn Fuzhou 福州 Fúzhōu List of county-level divisions
Gansu 甘肃 Gānsù 甘 gān or 陇 lǒng Lanzhou 兰州 Lánzhōu List of county-level divisions
Guangdong 广东 Guǎngdōng 粤 yuè Guangzhou 广州 Guǎngzhōu List of county-level divisions
Guizhou 贵州 Guìzhōu 黔 qián or 贵 guì Guiyang 贵阳 Guìyáng List of county-level divisions
Hainan 海南 Hǎinán 琼 qióng Haikou 海口 Hǎikǒu List of county-level divisions
Hebei 河北 Héběi 冀 jì Shijiazhuang 石家庄 Shíjiāzhuāng List of county-level divisions
Heilongjiang 黑龙江 Hēilóngjiāng 黑 hēi Harbin 哈尔滨 Hā'ěrbīn List of county-level divisions
Henan 河南 Hénán 豫 yù Zhengzhou 郑州 Zhèngzhōu List of county-level divisions
Hubei 湖北 Húběi 鄂 è Wuhan 武汉 Wǔhàn List of county-level divisions
Hunan 湖南 Húnán 湘 xiāng Changsha 长沙 Chángshā List of county-level divisions
Jiangsu 江苏 Jiāngsū 苏 sū Nanjing 南京 Nánjīng List of county-level divisions
Jiangxi 江西 Jiāngxī 赣 gàn Nanchang 南昌 Nánchāng List of county-level divisions
Jilin 吉林 Jílín 吉 jí Changchun 长春 Chángchūn List of county-level divisions
Liaoning 辽宁 Liáoníng 辽 liáo Shenyang 沈阳 Shěnyáng List of county-level divisions
Qinghai 青海 Qīnghǎi 青 qīng Xining 西宁 Xīníng List of county-level divisions
Shaanxi 陕西 Shǎnxī 陕 shǎn or 秦 qín Xi'an 西安 Xī'ān List of county-level divisions
Shandong 山东 Shāndōng 鲁 lǔ Jinan 济南 Jǐnán List of county-level divisions
Shanxi 山西 Shānxī 晋 jìn Taiyuan 太原 Tàiyuán List of county-level divisions
Sichuan 四川 Sìchuān 川 chuān or 蜀 shǔ Chengdu 成都 Chéngdū List of county-level divisions
Yunnan 云南 Yúnnán 滇 diān or 云 yún Kunming 昆明 Kūnmíng List of county-level divisions
Zhejiang 浙江 Zhèjiāng 浙 zhè Hangzhou 杭州 Hángzhōu List of county-level divisions

[edit] History

The provinces of China were first set up during the Yuan Dynasty. There were initially 10 provinces. By the time the Qing Dynasty was established, there were 18, all of which were in China proper. These were:

For every province, there was a Xunfu (governor, 巡撫), a political overseer on behalf of the emperor and a tidu (提督), a military governor. In addition, there was a zongdu (viceroy, 總督), 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. Manchuria (consisting of Fengtian (now Liaoning), Jilin, Heilongjiang), Xinjiang, and Mongolia were overseen by military leaders or generals (將軍) and vice-dutong (副都統), and civilian leaders were heads of the leagues (盟長), a subdivision of Mongolia. Tibet was administratively overseen by the ambans (驻藏大臣).

In 1878, Xinjiang became a province, in 1909, Fengtian, Jilin, and Heilongjiang were made provinces as well. Taiwan was made a province in 1887, but it was ceded 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.

The Republic of China, established in 1912, set up 4 more provinces in Inner Mongolia and 2 provinces in historic Tibet, bringing the total to 28. 4 provinces were however lost with the establishment of the Japanese puppet state of Manchukuo in Manchuria. After the defeat of Japan in World War II, Manchuria was reincorporated as 10 provinces, and Taiwan was also returned to China. As a result, the Republic of China had 35 provinces. Although the Republic of China now only controls one province (Taiwan Province) and some islands of a second province (Fujian), it continues to claim (in theory at least) 35 provinces.

Administrative divisions of the Republic of China

The People's Republic of China abolished many of the provinces in the 1950s and converted a number of them into autonomous regions. Hainan was set up as a separate province in 1988, bringing the total number of provinces to 22.

[edit] Various facts about the provinces

  • The largest province is Qinghai but also has the smallest population of just over 5.3 million.
  • Eight of the provinces (excluding the Republic of China (Taiwan)) have a sea coast. The remaining 14 are land-locked.
  • Guangdong, Shandong and Liaoning all have a major peninsula.
  • Guangdong is the only province bordering the only two Special Administrative Region of China.
  • Separated from Guangdong and established in 1988, Hainan is the youngest province of China.
  • Aside from Hainan (which is not physically attached to any provinces), all provinces share borders with at least two or more provinces except for Heilongjiang.

[edit] External Links

[edit] See also