China's Administrative System
Under the central government of China, the country is divided into 34 province-level administrative units, including 4 municipalities directly answerable to the central government, 23 provinces, 5 ethnic authomous regions, and 2 special districts. Each province-level administrative units are divided into prefecture-level municipalities or their equivalents. These prefectures or prefecture-level municipalities govern counties and county-level cities. A county is consisted of townships, each of which in turn controls villages.
The 4 municipalities directly controlled by the central government are China's largest and most important cities:
The provinces are the equvialents of the states in the U.S. There are 23 of them:
The 5 autonomous regions are adminstrative areas where large numbers of China's ethnic minority people live. They are:
- Guangxi Zhuang Auotomous Region
- Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region
- Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region
- Tibetan Autonomous Region
- Xinjiang Urghur Autonomous Region
The 2 special districts of administration are the territories previously held by European nations and were turned to China in recent years. They enjoy a high level of autonomy than the ethnic autonomous regions and maintain their free-port status. They are:
- Special Administrative Distric tof Hong Kong
- Special Administrative District of Macau
Below these province-level administrative units there are 345 prefectures or prefecture-level municipalities, 2,856 counties or county-level cities, and 41,658 townships, and 662,238 villages.