Provinces of China
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Provinces of China
Province-level administrative divisions
  • Also known as:
  • administrative divisions
China administrative claimed included.svg
CategoryUnitary one-party socialist republic (PRC)
Unitary semi-presidential republic (ROC)
Location People's Republic of China
 Republic of China (Taiwan)[1]
31 (Direct Jurisdiction) + 2 (Special Administrative Regions) + 1 (Disputed)
22 (Direct jurisdiction + 2 (Streamlined) + 48 (Claimed areas)
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]
province-level administrative divisions
Chinese name
Simplified Chinese
Traditional Chinese
Tibetan name
Zhuang name
Mongolian name
Mongolian script?
Uyghur name
Manchu name
Manchu script?

Provincial-level administrative divisions (simplified Chinese: ; traditional Chinese: ; pinyin: Sh?ng-jí xíngzhèngq?) or first-level administrative divisions (simplified Chinese: ; traditional Chinese: ; pinyin: y?-jí xíngzhèngq?), 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: sh?ng), four municipalities, five autonomous regions, and two Special Administrative Regions. The political status of Taiwan Province along with a small fraction of Fujian Province remain in dispute, those are under separate rule by the Republic of China, which is usually referred to as "Taiwan".

Every province on mainland China (including the island province of Hainan) has a Communist Party of China provincial committee (Chinese: ; pinyin: sh?ngw?i), headed by a secretary (simplified Chinese: ; traditional Chinese: ; pinyin: sh?jì). The Committee Secretary is effectively in charge of the province, rather than the governor of the provincial government.[4]

Types of provincial-level divisions


The government of each standard province (Chinese: ?; pinyin: sh?ng) 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. In practice, day-to-day affairs are managed by a provincial party standing committee, which makes decisions for a province analogous to the Politburo for the central 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 (ROC) 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 Island and the Vereker Banks and Itu Aba (Taiping Island) 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") though the provinces were streamlined in 1998 and the provincial governments were de facto dissolved in 2019.


A municipality (simplified Chinese: ; traditional Chinese: ; pinyin: zhíxiáshì; lit. '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: ; traditional Chinese: ; pinyin: zìzhìq?) 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: ; traditional Chinese: ; pinyin: tèbié xíngzhèngq?) 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

Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous RegionTibet (Xizang) Autonomous RegionQinghai ProvinceGansu ProvinceSichuan ProvinceYunnan ProvinceNingxia Hui Autonomous RegionInner Mongolia (Nei Mongol) Autonomous RegionShaanxi ProvinceMunicipality of ChongqingGuizhou ProvinceGuangxi Zhuang Autonomous RegionShanxi ProvinceHenan ProvinceHubei ProvinceHunan ProvinceGuangdong ProvinceHainan ProvinceHebei ProvinceHeilongjiang ProvinceJilin ProvinceLiaoning ProvinceMunicipality of BeijingMunicipality of TianjinShandong ProvinceJiangsu ProvinceAnhui ProvinceMunicipality of ShanghaiZhejiang ProvinceJiangxi ProvinceFujian ProvinceHong Kong Special Administrative RegionMacau Special Administrative RegionTaiwan ProvinceChina administrative claimed included.svg
About this image
GB/T 2260-2007[5] ISO[6] Province Chinese
Hanyu Pinyin
Capital Population[a] Population approximately equal Density[b] Area[c] Abbreviation[d]
AH CN-AH Anhui Province
?nhu? Sh?ng
Hefei 61,027,171  South Africa 436.29 139,879 ?
BJ CN-BJ Beijing Municipality
B?ij?ng Shì
21,893,095  Sri Lanka 1,334.05 16,411 ?
CQ CN-CQ Chongqing Municipality
Chóngqìng Shì
32,054,159  Angola 388.99 82,403 ?
FJ CN-FJ Fujian Province[e]
Fújiàn Sh?ng
Fuzhou (PRC)
Jincheng (ROC)[f]
41,540,086  Ukraine 335.66 123,756 ?
GD CN-GD Guangdong Province[g]
Gu?ngd?ng Sh?ng
Guangzhou 126,012,510  Japan 700.02 180,013 ?
GS CN-GS Gansu Province
G?nsù Sh?ng
Lanzhou 25,019,831  North Korea 54.70 457,382 ?(?)
G?n (L?ng)
GX CN-GX Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region ?
Gu?ngx? Zhuàngzú Zìzhìq?
Nanning 50,126,804  Colombia 210.78 237,818 ?
GZ CN-GZ Guizhou Province
Guìzh?u Sh?ng
Guiyang 38,562,148  Canada 218.93 176,140 ?(?)
Guì (Qián)
HA (HEN) CN-HA Henan Province
Hénán Sh?ng
Zhengzhou 99,365,519  Vietnam 600.52 165,467 ?
HB (HUB) CN-HB Hubei Province
Húb?i Sh?ng
Wuhan 57,752,557  Italy 310.87 185,776 ?
HE (HEB) CN-HE Hebei Province
Héb?i Sh?ng
Shijiazhuang 74,610,235  Germany 393.08 189,809 ?
HI CN-HI Hainan Province[h]
H?inán Sh?ng
Haikou 10,081,232  Azerbaijan 294.27 34,259 ?
HK CN-HK[i] Hong Kong Special Administrative Region ?
Xi?ngg?ng Tèbié Xíngzhèngq?
7,061,200  Libya 6,396.01 1,108 ?
HL CN-HL Heilongjiang Province ?
H?ilóngji?ng Sh?ng
Harbin 31,850,088  Angola 67.37 472,766 ?
HN (HUN) CN-HN Hunan Province
Húnán Sh?ng
Changsha 66,444,864  Thailand 313.65 211,842 ?
JL CN-JL Jilin Province
Jílín Sh?ng
Changchun 24,073,453  Niger 126.51 190,282 ?
JS CN-JS Jiangsu Province
Ji?ngs? Sh?ng
Nanjing 84,748,016  Iran 847.91 99,949 ?
JX CN-JX Jiangxi Province
Ji?ngx? Sh?ng
Nanchang 45,188,635  Argentina 270.69 166,939 ?
LN CN-LN Liaoning Province
Liáoníng Sh?ng
Shenyang 42,591,407  Uganda 289.59 147,076 ?
MO CN-MO[j] Macau Special Administrative Region ?
Àomén Tèbié Xíngzhèngq?
552,300  Luxembourg 19,044.82 29 ?
NM CN-NM Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region
Nèi M?ngg? Zìzhìq?
Hohhot 24,049,155  Niger 20.05 1,199,372 (?/?)
Nèi M?ngg? (Suí/M?ng)
NX CN-NX Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region ?
Níngxià Huízú Zìzhìq?
Yinchuan 7,202,654  Laos 108.47 66,400 ?
QH CN-QH Qinghai Province
Q?ngh?i Sh?ng
Xining 5,923,957  Denmark 8.58 690,355 ?
SC CN-SC Sichuan Province
Sìchu?n Sh?ng
Chengdu 83,674,866  Turkey 174.93 484,056 ?(?)
Chu?n (Sh?)
SD CN-SD Shandong Province
Sh?nd?ng Sh?ng
Jinan 101,527,453  Egypt 643.78 157,704 ?
SH CN-SH Shanghai Municipality
Shàngh?i Shì
24,870,895  Australia 3,922.24 6,341 ?(?)
Hù (Sh?n)
SN (SAA) CN-SN Shaanxi Province
Sh?nx? Sh?ng
Xi'an 39,528,999  Canada 192.24 205,624 ?(?)
Sh?n (Qín)
SX (SAX) CN-SX Shanxi Province
Sh?nx? Sh?ng
Taiyuan 34,915,616  Uzbekistan 222.80 156,713 ?
TJ CN-TJ Tianjin Municipality
Ti?nj?n Shì
13,866,009  Cambodia 1,194.32 11,610 ?
TW CN-TW[k] Taiwan Province[l]
Táiw?n Sh?ng
Taipei (PRC claimed)
Zhongxing New Village (ROC)[m]
23,162,123  Sri Lanka 650.97 36,161 ?(?)
XJ CN-XJ Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region
X?nji?ng Wéiwú'?r Zìzhìq?
Ürümqi 25,852,345  Australia 15.72 1,644,707 ?
XZ CN-XZ Tibet Autonomous Region
X?zàng Zìzhìq?
Lhasa 3,648,100  Georgia 3.03 1,204,776 ?
YN CN-YN Yunnan Province
Yúnnán Sh?ng
Kunming 47,209,277  Spain 123.20 383,195 ?(?)
Yún (Di?n)
ZJ CN-ZJ Zhejiang Province
Zhèji?ng Sh?ng
Hangzhou 64,567,588  Thailand 615.67 104,873 ?
  1. ^ as of 2020
  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 Taiwan (ROC) includes Kinmen County (Quemoy) and Lienchiang County (Matsu) formelry 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 government 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. ^ Most of the Guangdong Province is administered by the People's Republic of China (PRC) while the Taiwan (ROC) includes Pratas Island (also named Tungsha Island or Dongsha Island) as part of the Dongsha Atoll National Park.
  8. ^ Most of the Hainan Province is administered by the People's Republic of China (PRC) while the Taiwan (ROC) includes Itu Abab/Taiping Island as part of Cijin District, Kaohsiung.
  9. ^ Has separate ISO 3166-2 code: HK
  10. ^ Has separate ISO 3166-2 code: MO
  11. ^ Has separate ISO 3166-2 code: TW
  12. ^ The People's Republic of China considers Taiwan to be its 23rd province, but Taiwan is currently administrated by the Republic of China. Since 1945, the ROC only controls the island of Taiwan and Penghu. For Kinmen and Matsu, see note on Fujian Province. See also Political status of Taiwan
  13. ^ 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 abolished, with the budget and most personnel removed.[7]


Han provinces

The names of the provinces that the Eastern (Later) Han created were Bing, Ji, Jiao, Jing, Liang (at first Yong, later changed to Liang), Qing, Si (the Sili Xiaowei Department), Xu, Yan, Yang, Yi, You and Yu. The capital, Luoyang, was in the Si province, as was the former capital, Chang An.

Sui provinces

Sui provinces, ca. 610

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.[8]

Provinces of the Sui dynasty
Name Traditional
Pinyin Capital Approximate extent in terms of modern locations
Ancient name Modern location
Yongzhou Y?ngzh?u ? ? Guanzhong, Gansu, and the Upper Yellow basin
Jizhou Jìzh?u ? ? Shanxi and Northern Hebei, including modern Beijing and Tianjin
Yanzhou Y?nzh?u ? ? Lower Yellow River area- west of Qingzhou and east of Jizhou
Qingzhou Q?ngzh?u ? ? Shandong Peninsula
Yuzhou Yùzh?u ? ? Henan
Xuzhou Xúzh?u ? ? Modern Xuzhou area- southern Shandong and northern Jiangsu
Liangzhou Liángzh?u ? ? Upper Yangtze- Sichuan Basin + south of the Qinling
Jingzhou J?ngzh?u ? ? Central Yangtze
Yangzhou Yángzh?u ? ? Lower Yangtze, entire SE Coast, Hainan, and Northern Vietnam

Tang provinces

Tang circuits, ca. 660
Tang circuits, ca. 742

Emperor Taizong (r. 626-649) set up 10 "circuits" (?; 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 (???; d?d? f?), and 358 prefectures (? and later ?; f?).[9] 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.[10]

Circuits of the Tang dynasty
Name Traditional
Pinyin Capital Approximate extent in terms of modern locations
Ancient name Modern location
Duji* D?j? Henan Fu Luoyang Luoyang and environs
Guannei Gu?nnèi Jingzhao Fu Xi'an northern Shaanxi, central Inner Mongolia, Ningxia
Hebei Héb?i Weizhou Wei County, Hebei Hebei
Hedong Héd?ng Puzhou Puzhou, Yongji, Shanxi Shanxi
Henan Hénán Bianzhou Kaifeng Henan, Shandong, northern Jiangsu, northern Anhui
Huainan Huáinán Yangzhou central Jiangsu, central Anhui
Jiannan Jiànnán Yizhou Chengdu central Sichuan, central Yunnan
Jiangnan Ji?ngnán Jiangnanxi + Jiangnandong (see map)
Qianzhong** Qiánzh?ng Qianzhou Pengshui Guizhou, western Hunan
Jiangnanxi** Ji?ngnánx? Hongzhou Nanchang Jiangxi, Hunan, southern Anhui, southern Hubei
Jiangnandong** Ji?ngnánd?ng Suzhou southern Jiangsu, Zhejiang, Fujian, Shanghai
Jingji* J?ngj? Jingzhao Fu Xi'an Xi'an and environs
Lingnan L?ngnán Guangzhou Guangdong, eastern Guangxi, northern Vietnam
Longyou L?ngyou Shanzhou Ledu County, Qinghai Gansu
Shannan Sh?nnán Shannanxi + Shannandong (see map)
Shannanxi** Sh?nnánx? Liangzhou Hanzhong southern Shanxi, eastern Sichuan, Chongqing
Shannandong** Sh?nnánd?ng Xiangzhou Xiangfan southern 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

Song circuits, ca. 1111

The Song government abolished the previous commissioners and renamed their circuits (?; , literally meaning "roads", but is still usually translated as "circuits"). They also added a number of "army" prefectures (?; j?n). Similarly, Liao and Jurchen Jin dynasties also established circuits as the first-level administrative division.

Circuits of the Northern Song dynasty
Name Traditional
Pinyin Capital Approximant extent in terms of modern locations
Ancient name Modern location
Chengdufu Chéngd?f? Chengdu central Sichuan
Fujian Fújiàn Fuzhou Fujian
Guangnan East Gu?ngnánd?ng Guangzhou eastern Guangdong
Guangnan West Gu?ngnánx? Guizhou Guilin western Guangdong, Guangxi, Hainan
Hebei East Héb?id?ng Beijing Daming County, Hebei eastern Hebei
Hebei West Héb?ix? Zhending Zhengding County, Hebei western Hebei
Hedong Héd?ng Taiyuan Shanxi
Huainan East Huáinánd?ng Yangzhou central Jiangsu
Huainan West Huáinánx? Shouzhou Fengtai County, Anhui central Anhui
Jiangnan East Ji?ngnánd?ng Jiangning Fu Nanjing southern Anhui
Jiangnan West Ji?ngnánx? Hongzhou Nanchang Jiangxi
Jingdong East J?ngd?ngd?ng Qingzhou Qingzhou, Shandong eastern Shandong
Jingdong West J?ngd?ngx? Nanjing south of Shangqiu, Henan western Shandong
Jinghu North J?nghúb?i Jiangling Hubei, western Hunan
Jinghu South J?nghúnán Tanzhou Changsha Hunan
Jingji J?ngj? Chenliu Chenliu, Kaifeng, Henan Kaifeng and environs
Jingxi North J?ngx?b?i Xijing Luoyang central Henan
Jingxi South J?ngx?nán Xiangzhou Xiangfan southern Henan, northern Hubei
Kuizhou Kuízh?u Kuizhou Fengjie County, Chongqing Chongqing, eastern Sichuan, Guizhou
Liangzhe Li?ngzhè Hangzhou Zhejiang, southern Jiangsu, Shanghai
Lizhou Lìzh?u Xingyuan Hanzhong northern Sichuan, southern Shaanxi
Qinfeng Qínfèng Qinzhou Tianshui southern Gansu
Yongxingjun Y?ngx?ngj?n Jingzhao Xi'an Shaanxi
Zizhou Z?zh?u Zizhou Santai County, Sichuan central southern Sichuan

Yuan provinces

Yuan provinces, ca. 1330

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 () and the Tibetan region ruled by the Bureau of Buddhist and Tibetan Affairs ().

Circuits of the Yuan dynasty
Name Traditional
Pinyin Capital Approximant extent in terms of modern locations
Ancient name Traditional
Pinyin Modern location
Gansu G?nsù Ganzhou Circuit G?nzh?u Lù Zhangye Consist of modern location of Gansu, Ningxia, & eastern Inner Mongolia.
Huguang Húgu?ng Wuchang Circuit W?ch?ng Lù Wuhan Consist of modern location of Hunan, Guangxi, Guizhou, Hainan,
southern Hubei & western Guangdong.
Henanjiangbei ? Hénánji?ngb?i Bianliang Circuit Biànliáng Lù Kaifeng Consist of modern location of Henan, northern Hubei, northern Jiangsu, & northern Anhui.
Jiangxi Ji?ngx? Longxing Circuit Lóngxìng Lù Nanchang Consist of modern location of Jiangxi & eastern Guangdong.
Jiangzhe Ji?ngzhè Hangzhou Circuit Hángzh?u Lù Hangzhou Consist of modern location of Shanghai, Zhejiang, Fujian, southern Jiangsu, & southern Anhui.
Liaoyang Liáoyáng Liaoyang Circuit Liáoyáng Lù Liaoyang Consist of modern location of Heilongjiang, Jilin, Liaoning, eastern Hebei,
northwestern Inner Mongolia, northern Korea, & Outer Manchuria.
Lingbei L?ngb?i Hening Circuit Héníng Lù Kharkhorin Consist of modern location of Mongolia & southern Siberia.
Shaanxi Sh?nxi Fengyuan Circuit Fèngyuán Lù Xi'an Consist of modern location of Shaanxi & mid-western Sichuan
Sichuan Sìchu?n Chengdu Circuit Chéngd? Lù Chengdu Consist of modern location of western Sichuan & Chongqing
Yunnan Yúnnán Zhongqing Circuit Zh?ngqìng Lù Kunming Consist of modern location of Yunnan and Upper Myanmar.
Zhengdong Zh?ngd?ng Kaicheng Circuit K?ichéng Lù Kaesong Consist of modern location of southern Korea.
Central region* Zh?ngsh? Sh?ng 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* Xu?nzhèng 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

Ming provinces, ca. 1409

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 () within China proper and 5 additional military ruled regions.

Circuits of the Yuan dynasty
Name Traditional
Pinyin Capital Approximant extent in terms of modern locations
Ancient name Traditional
Pinyin Modern location
Fujian Fújiàn Fuzhou Prefecture Fúzh?u F?
Guangdong Gu?ngd?ng Guangzhou Prefecture Gu?ngzh?u G?
Guangxi Gu?ngx? Guilin Prefecture Guìlín F?
Guizhou Guìzh?u Guiyang Prefecture Guìyáng F?
Henan Hénán Kaifeng Prefecture K?if?ng F?
Huguang Húgu?ng Wuchang Prefecture W?ch?ng F? Consist of modern location of Hunan & Hubei.
Provincial seat modern location is Wuhan.
Jiangxi Ji?ngx? Nanchang Prefecture Nánch?ng F?
Shaanxi Sh?nx? Xi'an Prefecture X?'?n F? Consist of modern location of Shaanxi, Gansu, & Ningxia.
Shandong Sh?nd?ng Jinan Prefecture J?nán F?
Shanxi Sh?nx? Taiyuan Prefecture Tàiyuán F?
Sichuan Sìchu?n Chengdu Prefecture Chéngd? F? Consist of modern location of Chongqing & eastern Sichuan.
Yunnan Yúnnán Yunnan Prefecture Yúnnán F? Provincial seat modern location is Kunming.
Zhejiang Zhèji?ng Hangzhou Prefecture Hángzh?u F?
Jiaozhi Ji?ozh? Jiaozhou Prefecture Ji?ozh?u F? Consist of modern location of northern Vietnam.
North Zhili B?izhílì Shuntian Prefecture Shùnti?n F? Consist of modern location of Beijing, Tianjin, & Hebei.
Provincial seat modern location is Beijing.
South Zhili Nánzhílì Yingtian Prefecture Yìngti?n F? Consist of modern location of Shanghai, Jiangsu, & Anhui.
Provincial seat modern location is Nanjing.
Nurgan* Nú'ergàn none Consist of modern location of Heilongjiang, Jilin, central-eastern Inner Mongolia, & Outer Manchuria.
Liaodong* Liáod?ng none Consist of modern location of Liaoning.
Ü-Tsang* W?s?zàng none Consist of modern location of Tibet.
Dokham* Du?g?n none Consist of modern location of Qinghai & western Sichuan.
Elis* Élìs? none Consist of modern location of Ngari, Tibet.

Qing provinces

By the latter half of the Qing Dynasty (1644-1912), there were 18 provinces, all of them in China proper (). 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 (; xúnf?; translated as "governor"), a political overseer on behalf of the emperor, and a tidu (; tíd?; translated as "captain general"), a military governor. In addition, there was a zongdu (; z?ngd?), 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 (; ji?ngj?n) oversaw Manchuria (consisting of Fengtian (now Liaoning), Jilin, Heilongjiang), Xinjiang, and Mongolia, while vice-dutong (; fù d?t?ng) and civilian leaders headed the leagues (; méng zh?ng), a subdivision of Mongolia. The ambans (?; 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

Greater administrative areas

Name Hanzi Pinyin Translation Capital Hanzi Notes
Huabei Huáb?i "North China" Beijing 1949-1954
Dongbei D?ngb?i "Northeast" Shenyang 1949-1954
Huadong Huád?ng "East China" Shanghai 1949-1954
Zhongnan Zh?ngnán "South Central" Wuhan 1949-1954
Xibei X?b?i "Northwest" Xi'an 1949-1954
Xinan X?nán "Southwest" Chongqing 1949-1954


Name Hanzi Pinyin Abbreviation Capital Hanzi Note
Andong ?nd?ng ? ?n Tonghua 1949 abolished -> Liaodong, Jilin
Anhui ?nhu? ? w?n Hefei 1949 abolished -> Wanbei, Wannan; 1952 reverted
Chahar Cháh?'?r ? chá Zhangjiakou 1952 abolished -> Inner Mongolia, Hebei
Fujian Fújiàn ? m?n Fuzhou (PRC)
Jincheng (ROC)
parts of the Fujian Province consisting of Kinmen and Matsu are part of Taiwan (ROC)
Gansu G?nsù ? g?n Lanzhou 1958 Ningxia split into its own autonomous region
Guangdong Gu?ngd?ng ? yuè Guangzhou 1952 & 1965 Fangchenggang, Qinzhou, Beihai -> Guangxi; 1955 reverted
1988 Hainan split into its own province
Guangxi Gu?ngx? ? guì Nanning 1958 province -> autonomous region
Guizhou Guìzh?u ? qián Guiyang
Hainan H?inán ? qióng Haikou
Hebei Héb?i ?
Tianjin (1954-67)
Shijiazhuang (present)

1967 Tianjin split into its own municipality
Hejiang Héji?ng ? Jiamusi 1949 abolished -> Heilongjiang
Heilongjiang H?ilóngji?ng ? h?i Qiqihar (1949-54)
Harbin (present)
1952 part of Xing'an split into Inner Mongolia
Henan Hénán ? Kaifeng (1949-54)
Zhengzhou (present)

Hubei Húb?i ? è Wuhan
Hunan Húnán ? xi?ng Changsha
Jiangsu Ji?ngs? ? s? Nanjing 1949 abolished -> Subei, Subnan; 1952 reverted
Jiangxi Ji?ngx? ? gàn Nanchang
Jilin Jílín ? Jilin (1949-54)
Changchun (present)

1952 north part split into Inner Mongolia
Liaobei Liáob?i ? táo Liaoyuan 1949 abolished -> Jilin, Liaoning
Liaodong Liáod?ng ? gu?n Dandong 1954 abolished -> Liaoning
Liaoning Liáoníng ? liáo Shenyang 1949 abolished -> Liaodong, Liaoxi; 1954 reverted
1952 north part split into Inner Mongolia
Liaoxi Liáox? ? liáo Jinzhou 1954 abolished -> Liaoning
Nenjiang Nènji?ng ? nèn Qiqihar ? 1949 abolished -> Heilongjiang
Ningxia Níngxià ? níng Yinchuan 1954 province -> Gansu
Mudanjiang M?d?nji?ng ? d?n Mudanjiang 1949 abolished -> Heilongjiang
Pingyuan Píngyuán ? píng Xinxiang 1952 abolished -> Henan, Shandong
Qinghai Q?ngh?i ? q?ng Xining
Rehe Rèhé ? Chengde 1955 abolished -> Inner Mongolia, & Liaoning
Sichuan Sìchu?n ? chu?n Chengdu 1949 abolished -> Chuanbei, Chuandong, Chuannan, Chuanxi; 1952 reverted
1997 Chongqing split into its own municipality
Shaanxi Sh?nx? ? sh?n Xi'an
Shandong Sh?nd?ng ? l? Jinan
Shanxi Sh?nx? ? jìn Taiyuan
Songjiang S?ngji?ng ? s?ng Harbin 1954 abolished -> Heilongjiang
Suiyuan Suíyu?n ? suí Hohhot ? 1954 abolished -> Inner Mongolia
Taiwan Táiw?n ? tái Taipei
Zhongxing New Village (ROC only)
claimed since the founding of the PRC in 1949
Xikang X?k?ng ? k?ng Kangding (1949-50)
Ya'an (1950-55)

1955 abolished -> Sichuan, Yunnan, Tibet Autonomous Region
Xing'an X?ng'?n ? x?ng Hulunbuir ? 1949 abolished -> Heilongjiang
Xinjiang X?nji?ng ? ji?ng Ürümqi ? 1955 province -> autonomous region
Yunnan Yúnnán ? di?n Kunming
Zhejiang Zhèji?ng ? zhè Hangzhou

Autonomous regions

Name Hanzi Pinyin Abbreviation Capital Hanzi Note
Guangxi Gu?ngx? ? guì Nanning 1958 province -> autonomous region
Inner Mongolia Nèi M?ngg? ? m?ng Ulaanhot (1947-50)
Hohhot (present)
1947 created; 1969 truncated -> Liaoning, Heilongjiang,
Jilin, Gansu, Ningxia; 1979 reverted
Ningxia Níngxià ? níng Yinchuan 1958 special region -> autonomous region
Tibet X?zàng ? zàng Lhasa 1965 area -> autonomous region
Xinjiang X?nji?ng ? ji?ng Ürümqi ? 1955 province -> autonomous region


Name Hanzi Pinyin Abbreviation Capital Hanzi Note
Anshan ?nsh?n ? ?n Tiedong District 1954 abolished -> Liaoning
Beijing (PRC) B?ij?ng ? j?ng Dongcheng District
Tongzhou District

Benxi B?nx? ? b?n Pingshan District 1954 abolished -> Liaoning
Changchun Chángch?n ? ch?n Nanguan District 1953 created; 1954 abolished -> Jilin
Chongqing (PRC) Chóngqìng ? Yuzhong District 1954 abolished -> Sichuan; 1997 reverted
Dalian -> Lüda -> Dàlián ? lián Xigang District 1949 abolished -> Luda, 1950 reverted, 1954 abolished -> Liaoning
Fushun F?shùn ? f? Shuncheng District 1954 abolished -> Liaoning
Guangzhou Gu?ngzh?u ? suì Yuexiu District 1954 abolished -> Guangdong
Harbin H?'?rb?n ? h? Nangang District 1953 created, 1954 abolished -> Heilongjiang
Kaohsiung (ROC) G?oxióng ? g?o Lingya District
Fongshan District

Nanjing Nánj?ng ? níng Xuanwu District 1952 abolished -> Jiangsu
New Taipei (ROC) X?nb?i x?nb?i Banqiao District
Shanghai (PRC) Shàngh?i ? Huangpu District
Shenyang Sh?nyáng ? sh?n Shenhe District 1954 abolished -> Liaoning
Taichung (ROC) Táizh?ng ? zh?ng Xitun District
Tainan (ROC) Táinán ? nán Anping District
Xinying District

Taipei (ROC) Táib?i ? b?i Xinyi District
Taoyuan (ROC) Táoyuán ? táo Taoyuan District
Tianjin (PRC) Ti?nj?n ? j?n Heping District 1954 abolished -> Hebei, 1967 reverted
Hankou -> Wuhan -> W?hàn ? hàn Jiang'an District 1949 abolished -> Hubei
Xi'an X?'?n ? hào Weiyang District 1954 abolished -> Shaanxi

Special administrative regions

Name Hanzi Pinyin Abbreviation Capital Hanzi Note
Hong Kong Xi?ngg?ng ? g?ng Hong Kong created 1997 (Transfer of sovereignty over Hong Kong)
Macau Àomén ? ào Macau created 1999 (Transfer of sovereignty over Macau)

Administrative territories

Name Hanzi Pinyin Abbreviation Capital Hanzi Note
Chuanbei Chu?nb?i ? ch?ng Nanchong 1950 created; 1952 abolished -> Sichuan
Chuandong Chu?nd?ng ? Chongqing 1950 created; 1952 abolished -> Sichuan
Chuannan Chu?nnán ? Luzhou 1950 created; 1952 abolished -> Sichuan
Chuanxi Chu?nx? ? róng Chengdu 1950 created; 1952 abolished -> Sichuan
Hainan H?inán ? qióng Haikou 1949 abolished -> Guangdong
Lüda L?dà ? l? Dalian 1949 created; 1950 abolished -> Dalian
Subei S?b?i ? yáng Yangzhou 1949 created; 1952 abolished -> Jiangsu
Sunan S?nán ? x? Wuxi 1949 created; 1952 abolished -> Jiangsu
Wanbei W?nb?i ? Hefei 1949 created; 1952 abolished -> Anhui
Wannan W?nnán ? Wuhu 1949 created; 1952 abolished -> Anhui


Name Hanzi Pinyin Abbreviation Capital Hanzi Note
Tibet X?zàng ? zàng Lhasa 1965 region -> autonomous region


Name Hanzi Pinyin Abbreviation Capital Hanzi Note
Qamdo Ch?ngd? ? ch?ng Qamdo 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.


The provinces in southeast coastal area of China such as Jiangsu, Zhejiang, Fujian and (mainly) Guangdong tend to be more industrialized, with regions in the hinterland less developed.

See also


  1. ^ Hwang, Jim (October 1999). "Gone with the Times". Taiwan Review. Archived from the original on 2012-02-26. Retrieved .
  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 .
  3. ^ 6-1 [6-1 Overview of natural resources] (in Chinese). Xinjiang Bureau of Statistics. Archived from the original on 2015-12-22. Retrieved 2015.
  4. ^ . (in Chinese). Archived from the original on 2017-09-17. Retrieved .
  5. ^ "GB/T 2260 codes for the provinces of China". Archived from the original on 2004-03-05. Retrieved .
  6. ^ ISO 3166-2:CN (ISO 3166-2 codes for the provinces of China)
  7. ^ a b "Taiwan Provincial Government Official Website". Retrieved 2018.
  8. ^ "What were the ancient 9 provinces? Archived 2016-06-05 at the Wayback Machine" on
  9. ^ Twitchett 1979, pp. 203, 205.
  10. ^ Twitchett 1979, p. 404.

External links

  1. ^ Sarah Shair-Rosenfield (November 2020). "Taiwan combined" (PDF). The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Retrieved 2021.

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