County (Taiwan)
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County Taiwan
Subdivision types of the Republic of China (2014).svg
Counties are shown in green
CategorySpecial municipalities, counties, and cities
Areas29-4629 km2
  • County government
  • County council

A county,[I] constitutionally known as a hsien,[1] is an administrative division unit in 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.


The first administrative divisions named "county" (?) was first established in 1661 by the Kingdom of Tungning. The later ruler Qing empire inherited this type of administrative divisions. With the increase of Han Chinese population in Taiwan, the number of counties also grew by time. By the end of Qing era, there were 11 counties in Taiwan. Protestant missionaries in China first romanized the term as hien.[2]

Taiwan was ceded to Japan by the Treaty of Shimonoseki in 1895. The hierarchy of divisions also incorporated into the Japanese system in the period when Taiwan under Japanese rule. By the end of World War II in 1945, Taiwan was divided into eight (8) prefectures (? and ?). The prefectures were reformed into eight counties (?) with the same name under Taiwan Province of the Republic of China. Their roman spellings were also changed to reflect the official language shift from Japanese to Mandarin Chinese, but characters remained the same. Note that most of the Japanese prefectural cities were reformed to provincial cities and are not a part of counties.

Changes of counties in 1945 and 1950
Japanese prefecture
(before 1945)
Counties in 1950
Ky?jitai R?maji Character Wade-Giles
Taihoku Taipei Taipei, Yilan
Shinchiku Hsinchu Hsinchu, Miaoli, Taoyuan
Taich? Taichung Changhua, Nantou, Taichung
Tainan Tainan Chiayi, Tainan, Yunlin
Takao Kaohsiung Kaohsiung, Pingtung
? Karenk? Hualien Hualien
Tait? Taitung Taitung
H?ko Penghu Penghu

In late 1949, the government of the Republic of China lost the Chinese Civil War and was relocated to Taipei, Taiwan. In 1950, the counties in Taiwan were reorganized. Counties in populous western Taiwan were split into two to three counties. This pushed the number of counties up to 16. After the war, the government only controlled a few offshore islands of mainland China. These territories were reorganized into two counties: Kinmen and Lienchiang under Fukien. The number of counties under jurisdiction, 16 in Taiwan and 2 in Fukien, remained stable in the period of Martial law in Taiwan until the early 1990s.

List of counties from 1955 to 2010
Name Chinese Name Chinese Name Chinese
Changhua Lienchiang Tainan
Chiayi Miaoli Taipei
Hsinchu Nantou Taitung
Hualien Penghu Taoyuan
Kaohsiung Pingtung Yilan
Kinmen Taichung Yunlin

Following the democratic reforms in the early 1990s, more proposals of administrative division reforms were widely discussed and ultimately caused some populous counties be reformed to special municipalities in the 2010 and 2014. These counties are:

Currently, the counties are established according to the Local Government Act under the supervision of the Ministry of the Interior. This act also endorses some special articles that grants counties with a population of over two million can grant some extra privileges in local autonomy that was designed for special municipalities. This type of counties are often called quasi-municipalities (?). This term applied to New Taipei and Taoyuan before they became special municipalities.

Current counties

There are currently 13 counties:

Name[3] Chinese Hàny?
Wade-Giles Tongyòng
County seat Province
Changhua Zh?nghuà Chang¹-hua? Jhanghuà Chiang-hòa or
Chông-fa Changhua City Taiwan Province
Chiayi Ji?yì Chia¹-i? Jiayì Ka-g? Kâ-ngi Taibao City Taiwan Province
Hsinchu X?nzhú Hsin¹-chu² Sinjhú Sin-tek Sîn-chuk Zhubei City Taiwan Province
Hualien Hu?lián Hua¹-lien² Hualián Hoa-lian or
Fâ-lièn Hualien City Taiwan Province
Kinmen J?nmén Chin¹-mên² Jinmén Kim-mn?g Kîm-mùn Jincheng Township Fujian Province
Lienchiang Liánji?ng Lien²-chiang¹ Liánjiang Liân-kang Lièn-kông Nangan Township Fujian Province
Miaoli Miáolì Miao²-li? Miáolì Biâu-le?k or
Mèu-li?t Miaoli City Taiwan Province
Nantou Nántóu Nan²-t?ou² Nántóu Lâm-tâu Nàm-thèu Nantou City Taiwan Province
Penghu Pénghú P?êng²-hu² Pénghú Phî?-ô?  or
Phàng-fù Magong City Taiwan Province
Pingtung Píngd?ng P?ing²-tung¹ Píngdong Pîn-tong Phìn-tûng Pingtung City Taiwan Province
Taitung Táid?ng T?ai²-tung¹ Táidong Tâi-tang Thòi-tûng Taitung City Taiwan Province
Yilan Yílán I²-lan² Yílán Gî-lân Ngì-làn Yilan City Taiwan Province
Yunlin Yúnlín Yün²-lin² Yúnlín Hûn-lîm Yùn-lìm Douliu City Taiwan Province

Under Article 9 of the Additional Articles of the Constitution of the Republic of China, regulated by the Local Government Act, each county has a government headed by an elected county magistrate and an elected county council exercising legislative functions. The governing bodies (executive and legislature) of the counties are:

Name Executive Legislature
Government Magistrates Current Magistrate County Council No. of seats
Changhua Changhua County Government List of county magistrates of Changhua Wei Ming-ku Changhua County Council 54
Chiayi Chiayi County Government List of county magistrates of Chiayi Helen Chang (Chang Hua-kuan) Chiayi County Council 36
Hsinchu Hsinchu County Government List of county magistrates of Hsinchu Chiu Ching-chun Hsinchu County Council 34
Hualien Hualien County Government List of county magistrates of Hualien Fu Kun-chi Hualien County Council 33
Kinmen Kinmen County Government List of county magistrates of Kinmen Chen Fu-hai Kinmen County Council 19
Lienchiang Lienchiang County Government List of county magistrates of Lienchiang Liu Cheng-ying Lienchiang County Council 9
Miaoli Miaoli County Government List of county magistrates of Miaoli Hsu Yao-chang Miaoli County Council 38
Nantou Nantou County Government List of county magistrates of Nantou Lin Ming-chen Nantou County Council 37
Penghu Penghu County Government List of county magistrates of Penghu Chen Kuang-fu Penghu County Council 19
Pingtung Pingtung County Government List of county magistrates of Pingtung Pan Men-an Pingtung County Council 55
Taitung Taitung County Government List of county magistrates of Taitung Justin Huang (Huang Chien-ting) Taitung County Council 30
Yilan Yilan County Government List of county magistrates of Yilan Lin Tsung-hsien Yilan County Council 34
Yunlin Yunlin County Government List of county magistrates of Yunlin Lee Chin-yung Yunlin County Council 43

See also

[G] Has an administrative body with an elected leader and a legislative body with elected members
[O] Has a governmental office for managing local affairs and carrying out commissioned tasks by superior agency


  1. ^ Also known as the Taiwan area or Tai-Min area (Chinese: ?; literally: 'Taiwan-Fujian area')
  2. ^ In Chinese, special municipalities, cities, and county-administered cities have the word shi (Chinese: ?; literally: 'city') in their official names
  3. ^ Nominal; provincial governments have been abolished
  4. ^ Constitutionally having the same structure as the free area
  5. ^ Cities are sometimes called provincial cities (Chinese: ) to distinguish them from the other two types of cities.
  6. ^ In Chinese, there are two types of townships: x?ang (Chinese: ?) and zhèng (Chinese: ?); there is little practical difference between the two
  7. ^ In Chinese, villages of x?ang townships are known as ts?n (Chinese: ?), those of other types are known as l? (Chinese: ?)

Words in native languages

  1. ^ a b


  1. ^ "Laws & Regulations Database of The Republic of China". Retrieved 2019.
  2. ^ Davidson, James W. (1903). The Island of Formosa, Past and Present: History, People, Resources, and Commercial Prospects: Tea, Camphor, Sugar, Gold, Coal, Sulphur, Economical Plants, and Other Productions. London and New York: Macmillan & Co. p. 93. OL 6931635M.
  3. ^ "Glossary of Names for Admin Divisions" (PDF). Taiwan Geographic Names Information Systems. The Ministry of Interior of ROC. Retrieved 2015.[permanent dead link]

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