Towns of China
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Towns of China
Town (Zhen)
Chinese name
Simplified Chinese?
Traditional Chinese?
Tibetan name
Zhuang name
Mongolian name
Mongolian script?
Uyghur name

When referring to political divisions of China, town is the standard English translation of the Chinese ? (traditional: ?; pinyin: zhèn; Wade-Giles: chen4). The Constitution of the People's Republic of China currently classifies towns as third-level administrative units, along with townships (Chinese: ?; pinyin: xi?ng) and ethnic minority townships (The State Council, 2014).[1] A township is typically smaller in population and more remote than a town (zhèn).

In the central urban area of Longgang Town (; Lóngg?ng Zhèn), a typical town of Yangxin County, Hubei

Similarly to a higher-level administrative units, the borders of a town (zhen) would typically include an urban core (what one would call a "town" in Europe or America - a small town with the population on the order of 10,000 people), as well as rural area with some villages (?; c?n, or ?; zhu?ng).

Towns in China are relatively small in size and in population compared to cities, but those with particular characteristics can enjoy great popularity among tourists. For example, the ancient town of Fenghuang attracts young backpackers every year for its minority ethnic culture and architecture.[2]

Map representation

A typical provincial map would merely show a zhen with a circle centered at its urban area and labeled with its name, while a more detailed one (e.g., the map of Xianning prefecture-level city at its official web site) would also show the borders dividing the county or county-level city into town (?) and/or township (?) units.

Maoping Town, the county seat of Zigui County, is often labeled "Zigui" on less-detailed maps

The town (zhen) in which the county government (and the county's main urban area) is located is often "invisible" on less-detailed maps, because its circle is usually labeled with the name of the county rather than the name of the actual zhen into which this urban area falls. For example, the county government of Tongshan County, Hubei is located in Tongyang Town (; T?ngyáng zhèn),[3] but the maps would normally show it with a circle labeled "Tongshan County" () or simply "Tongshan" (). Road signs would also normally show distance to "Tongshan" rather than "Tongyang".

On the other hand, more detailed maps - e.g., maps of individual prefecture-level cities in a provincial atlas - would label the county seat location with both the name of the county (e.g., ; T?ngsh?n xiàn) and, below, and in a smaller font, with the name of the township (e.g., ; T?ngyáng zhèn).[4]

Intercity buses, trains, or riverboats destined to, or stopping at a county seat may designate its destination either by the name of the county or the name of the county-seat township.

Usage of zhen in Taiwan

In contrast to the PRC, in the official translation adopted in the ROC, both the characters "?" (pinyin: xi?ng) and "?" (zhèn) are translated as "townships", with zhèn specifically being "urban" township, 'with xi?ng specifically translated as "rural" township


  1. ^ "Administrative Division". Retrieved .
  2. ^ Armitage, Helen (2017). "The 10 Most Beautiful Towns In China". Culture Trip. Retrieved .
  3. ^ Google Maps: [1]. To get to Tongshan, Hubei, one can first search Google Maps for "Xianning", and then scroll south and south-east along S208 and S209
  4. ^ Compare e.g. the provincial map and individual prefectures' maps in the Road Atlas of Hubei (?; published by SinoMaps Press, 2007, ISBN 978-7-5031-4380-9), or in any other comparable atlas.

  This article uses material from the Wikipedia page available here. It is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.



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