Villages (Chinese: 村; pinyin: Cūn), formally village-level divisions (Chinese: 村级行政区; pinyin: Cūn Jí Xíngzhèngqū) in China, serve as a fundamental organizational unit for its rural population (census, mail system). Basic local divisions like neighborhoods and communities are not informal like in the West, but have defined boundaries and designated heads (one per area). In 2000, China's densely populated villages (>100 persons/square km) had a population greater than 500 million and covered more than 2 million square kilometers, or more than 20% of China's total area (Ellis 2004).
Ellis, E.C. 2004. Long-term ecological changes in the densely populated rural landscapes of China. Pages 303-320 in R. S. DeFries, G. P. Asner, and R. A. Houghton, editors. Ecosystems and Land Use Change. American Geophysical Union, Washington, DC. download the paper