Provinces of China

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Province-level administrative divisions
shěng-jí xíngzhèngqū
China provinces.png
Category Unitary State
Location People's Republic of China (PRC)
Number 34 (33 controlled by PRC & 1 controlled by ROC)
Populations 552,300 (Macau) – 104,303,132 (Guangdong)
Areas 31 km2 (12 sq mi) (Macau) – 730,000 km2 (280,000 sq mi) (Qinghai)
Government Single-Party Government
SARs: 1 country, 2 systems
Subdivisions Sub-provincial city, Prefecture
province-level administrative divisions
Chinese name
Simplified Chinese 省级行政区
Traditional Chinese 省級行政區
Tibetan name
Tibetan ཞིང་ཆེན།
Zhuang name
Zhuang Swngj
Mongolian name
Mongolian script ᠮᠤᠵᠢ
Uyghur name

Provinces (Chinese: ; pinyin: shěng), formally provincial-level administrative divisions (Chinese: 省级行政区; pinyin: shěng-jí Xíngzhèngqū) or first-level administrative divisions (Chinese: 一级行政区; pinyin: yī-jí Xíngzhèngqū), are the highest-level Chinese administrative divisions. There are 33 such divisions, classified as 22 provinces (not including Taiwan, which is claimed but not actually controlled by the People's Republic of China[1]), four municipalities, five autonomous regions, and two Special Administrative Regions.

The People's Republic of China (PRC) claims sovereignty over the territory administered by the Republic of China (ROC), claiming most of it as its Taiwan Province. The ROC also administers some offshore islands which form Fujian Province, ROC. These were part of an originally unified Fujian province, which since the stalemate of the Chinese Civil War in 1949 has been divided between the PRC and ROC.

Note that every province (except Hong Kong and Macau, the two special administrative regions) has a Communist Party of China provincial committee (Chinese: 省委; pinyin: shěng wěi), headed by a secretary (Chinese: 书记; pinyin: shūjì). The committee secretary is in effective charge of the province, rather than the nominal governor of the provincial government.[citation needed]


The government of each standard province (Chinese: ; pinyin: shěng) 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.

The People's Republic of China claims the island of Taiwan and its surrounding islets, including Penghu, as "Taiwan Province". (Kinmen and the Matsu Islands are claimed by the PRC as part of its Fujian Province. Pratas and Itu Aba 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").

Other types of province-level divisions[edit]


A municipality (simplified Chinese: 直辖市; traditional Chinese: 直轄市; pinyin: zhíxiáshì; literally: "direct-administrated city") or direct-controlled municipality 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[edit]

An autonomous region (simplified Chinese: 自治区; traditional Chinese: 自治區; pinyin: zìzhìqū) 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)[edit]

A special administrative region (SAR) (simplified Chinese: 特别行政区; traditional Chinese: 特別行政區; pinyin: tèbié xíngzhèngqū) 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[edit]

Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region Tibet (Xizang) Autonomous Region Qinghai Province Gansu Province Sichuan Province Yunnan Province Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region Inner Mongolia (Nei Mongol) Autonomous Region Shaanxi Province Municipality of Chongqing Guizhou Province Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region Shanxi Province Henan Province Hubei Province Hunan Province Guangdong Province Hainan Province Hebei Province Heilongjiang Province Jilin Province Liaoning Province Municipality of Beijing Municipality of Tianjin Shangdong Province Jiangsu Province Anhui Province Municipality of Shanghai Zhejiang Province Jiangxi Province Fujian Province Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Macau Special Administrative Region Taiwan ProvinceChina administrative claimed included.svg
About this image
GB/T 2260-2007[2] ISO[3] Province Chinese
Hanyu Pinyin
Capital Population[a] Density[b] Area[c] Abbreviation[d]
BJ CN-11 Beijing Municipality 北京市
Běijīng Shì
Beijing 19,612,368 1,167.40 16,800
TJ CN-12 Tianjin Municipality 天津市
Tiānjīn Shì
Tianjin 12,938,224 1,144.46 11,305
HE (HEB) CN-13 Hebei Province 河北省
Héběi Shěng
Shijiazhuang 71,854,202 382.81 187,700
SX CN-14 Shanxi Province 山西省
Shānxī Shěng
Taiyuan 35,712,111 228.48 156,300
NM CN-15 Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region 內蒙古自治区
Nèi Měnggǔ Zìzhìqū
Hohhot 24,706,321 20.88 1,183,000 內蒙古(内蒙)[4]
Nèi Měnggǔ (NèiMěng)
LN CN-21 Liaoning Province 辽宁省
Liáoníng Shěng
Shenyang 43,746,323 299.83 145,900
JL CN-22 Jilin Province 吉林省
Jílín Shěng
Changchun 27,462,297 146.54 187,400
HL CN-23 Heilongjiang Province 黑龙江省
Hēilóngjiāng Shěng
Harbin 38,312,224 84.38 454,000
SH CN-31 Shanghai Municipality 上海市
Shànghǎi Shì
Shanghai 23,019,148 3,630.20 6,341
JS CN-32 Jiangsu Province 江苏省
Jiāngsū Shěng
Nanjing 78,659,903 766.66 102,600
ZJ CN-33 Zhejiang Province 浙江省
Zhèjiāng Shěng
Hangzhou 54,426,891 533.59 102,000
AH CN-34 Anhui Province 安徽省
Ānhuī Shěng
Hefei 59,500,510 425.91 139,700
FJ CN-35 Fujian Province 福建省
Fújiàn Shěng
Fuzhou 36,894,216 304.15 121,300
JX CN-36 Jiangxi Province 江西省
Jiāngxī Shěng
Nanchang 44,567,475 266.87 167,000
SD CN-37 Shandong Province 山东省
Shāndōng Shěng
Jinan 95,793,065 622.84 153,800
HA (HEN) CN-41 Henan Province 河南省
Hénán Shěng
Zhengzhou 94,023,567 563.01 167,000
HB CN-42 Hubei Province 湖北省
Húběi Shěng
Wuhan 57,237,740 307.89 185,900
HN CN-43 Hunan Province 湖南省
Húnán Shěng
Changsha 65,683,722 312.77 210,000
GD CN-44 Guangdong Province 广东省
Guǎngdōng Shěng
Guangzhou 104,303,132 579.46 180,000
GX CN-45 Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region 广西壮族自治区
Guǎngxī Zhuàngzú Zìzhìqū
Nanning 46,026,629 195.02 236,000
HI CN-46 Hainan Province 海南省
Hǎinán Shěng
Haikou 9,171,300[5] 255.04 34,000
CQ CN-50 Chongqing Municipality 重庆市
Chóngqìng Shì
Chongqing 28,846,170 350.50 82,300
SC CN-51 Sichuan Province 四川省
Sìchuān Shěng
Chengdu 80,418,200 165.81 485,000 川(蜀)
Chuān (Shǔ)
GZ CN-52 Guizhou Province 贵州省
Guìzhōu Shěng
Guiyang 34,746,468 197.42 176,000 贵(黔)
Guì (Qián)
YN CN-53 Yunnan Province 云南省
Yúnnán Shěng
Kunming 45,966,239 116.66 394,000 云(滇)
Yún (Diān)
XZ CN-54 Tibet Autonomous Region 西藏自治区
Xīzàng Zìzhìqū
Lhasa 3,002,166 2.44 1,228,400
SN CN-61 Shaanxi Province 陕西省
Shǎnxī Shěng
Xi'an 37,327,378 181.55 205,600 陕(秦)
Shǎn (Qín)
GS CN-62 Gansu Province 甘肃省
Gānsù Shěng
Lanzhou 25,575,254 56.29 454,300 甘(陇)
Gān (Lǒng)
QH CN-63 Qinghai Province 青海省
Qīnghǎi Shěng
Xining 5,626,722 7.80 721,200
NX CN-64 Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region 宁夏回族自治区
Níngxià Huízú Zìzhìqū
Yinchuan 6,301,350 94.89 66,400
XJ CN-65 Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region 新疆维吾尔自治区
Xīnjiāng Wéiwú'ěr Zìzhìqū
Ürümqi 21,813,334 13.13 1,660,400
TW CN-71[e] Taiwan Province[f] 台湾省
Táiwān Shěng
HK CN-91[g] Hong Kong Special Administrative Region 香港特别行政区
Xiānggǎng Tèbié Xíngzhèngqū
Hong Kong 7,061,200 6,396.01 1,104
MO CN-92[h] Macau Special Administrative Region 澳门特别行政区
Àomén Tèbié Xíngzhèngqū
Macau 552,300 19,044.82 29
  1. ^ as of 2010
  2. ^ per km2
  3. ^ km2
  4. ^ Abbreviation in the parentheses is informal
  5. ^ Has separate ISO 3166-2 code: TW
  6. ^ Since founding in 1949, the People's Republic of China (PRC) has considered Taiwan to be its 23rd province. However, the PRC has never controlled Taiwan. Taiwan (officially the Republic of China) currently administers Taiwan, Penghu, Kinmen and Matsu. The subject of whether or not Taiwan is part of "China" is often debated, with no clear conclusion.
  7. ^ Has separate ISO 3166-2 code: HK
  8. ^ Has separate ISO 3166-2 code: MO


Map of the PRC in 1949.
Map comparing administrative divisions as drawn by the PRC and ROC.
Administrative divisions of the Republic of China (1912–49). Note: this map depicts the theoretical administrative divisions of the Republic of China, which are not synchronized with the actual administrative divisions of the People's Republic of China. The ROC controls Taiwan and nearby islands while the PRC controls Mainland China, Hong Kong, and Macau.

Yuan provinces[edit]

The rulers of China first set up provinces—initially 10 in number—during the Yuan Dynasty (1271–1368) with the addition of the Central Region ruled by the Zhongshu Sheng (中書省) and the Tibetan Plateau ruled by the Bureau of Buddhist and Tibetan Affairs (宣政院).

Ming provinces[edit]

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 (兩京十三省).

Qing provinces[edit]

By the time of the establishment of the Qing Dynasty (1644–1912) in 1644 there were 18 provinces, all of them in China proper (內地十八省).

New provinces[edit]

Each province had a xunfu (巡撫; xúnfǔ; translated as "governor"), a political overseer on behalf of the emperor, and a tidu (提督; tídū; translated as "captain general"), a military governor. In addition, there was a zongdu (總督; zǒngdū), 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 (將軍; jiāngjūn) oversaw Manchuria (consisting of Fengtian (now Liaoning), Jilin, Heilongjiang), Xinjiang, and Mongolia, while vice-dutong (副都統; fù dūtǒng) and civilian leaders headed the leagues (盟長; méng zhǎng), a subdivision of Mongolia. The ambans (駐藏大臣; 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)[edit]

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. But 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[edit]

List of PRC province-level divisions[edit]

  abolished   claimed

Greater administrative areas[edit]

Name Hanzi Pinyin Translation Capital Hanzi Notes
Huabei 华北 Huáběi "North China" Beijing 北京 1949–1954
Dongbei 东北 Dōngběi "Northeast" Shenyang 沈阳 1949–1954
Huadong 华东 Huádōng "East China" Shanghai 上海 1949–1954
Zhongnan 中南 Zhōngnán "South Central" Wuhan 武汉 1949–1954
Xibei 西北 Xīběi "Northwest" Xi'an 西安 1949–1954
Xinan 西南 Xīnán "Southwest" Chongqing 重庆 1949–1954


Name Hanzi Pinyin Abbreviation Capital Hanzi Note
Andong 安东 Āndōng ān Tonghua 通化 1949 abolished → Liaodong, Jilin
Anhui 安徽 Ānhuī wǎn Hefei 合肥 1949 abolished → Wanbei, Wannan; 1952 reverted
Chahar 察哈尔 Cháhā'ěr chá Zhangjiakou 张家口 1952 abolished → Inner Mongolia, Hebei
Fujian 福建 Fújiàn mǐn Fuzhou 福州
Gansu 甘肃 Gānsù gān Lanzhou 兰州 1958 Ningxia split into its own autonomous region
Guangdong 广东 Guǎngdōng yuè Guangzhou 广州 1952 & 1965 Fangchenggang, Qinzhou, Beihai → Guangxi; 1955 reverted
1988 Hainan split into its own province
Guangxi 广西 Guǎngxī guì Nanning 南宁 1958 province → autonomous region
Guizhou 贵州 Guìzhōu qián Guiyang 贵阳
Hainan 海南 Hǎinán qióng' Haikou 海口
Hebei 河北 Héběi Baoding (1949–54; 1967–68)
Tianjin (1954–67)
Shijiazhuang (present)
1967 Tianjin split into its own municipality
Hejiang 合江 Héjiāng Jiamusi 佳木斯 1949 abolished → Heilongjiang
Heilongjiang 黑龙江 Hēilóngjiāng hēi Qiqihar (1949–54)
Harbin (present)
1952 part of Xing'an split into Inner Mongolia
Henan 河南 Hénán Kaifeng (1949–54)
Zhengzhou (present)
Hubei 湖北 Húběi è Wuhan 武汉
Hunan 湖南 Húnán xiāng Changsha 长沙
Jiangsu 江苏 Jiāngsū Nanjing 南京 1949 abolished → Subei, Subnan; 1952 reverted
Jiangxi 江西 Jiāngxī gàn Nanchang 南昌
Jilin 吉林 Jílín Jilin (1949–54)
Changchun (present)
1952 north part split into Inner Mongolia
Liaobei 辽北 Liáoběi táo Liaoyuan 辽源 1949 abolished → Jilin, Liaoning
Liaodong 辽东 Liáodōng guān Dandong 丹东 1954 abolished → Liaoning
Liaoning 辽宁 Liáoníng liáo Shenyang 沈阳 1949 abolished → Liaodong, Liaoxi; 1954 reverted
1952 north part split into Inner Mongolia
Liaoxi 辽西 Liáoxī liáo Jinzhou 锦州 1954 abolished → Liaoning
Nenjiang 嫩江 Nènjiāng nèn Qiqihar 齐齐哈尔 1949 abolished → Heilongjiang
Ningxia 宁夏 Níngxià níng Yinchuan 银川 1954 province → Gansu
Mudanjiang 牡丹江 Mǔdānjiāng dān Mudanjiang 牡丹江 1949 abolished → Heilongjiang
Pingyuan 平原 Píngyuán píng Xinxiang 新乡 1952 abolished → Henan, Shandong
Qinghai 青海 Qīnghǎi qīng Xining 西宁
Rehe 热河 Rèhé Chengde 承德 1955 abolished → Inner Mongolia, & Liaoning
Sichuan 四川 Sìchuān chuān Chengdu 成都 1949 abolished → Chuanbei, Chuandong, Chuannan, Chuanxi; 1952 reverted
1997 Chongqing split into its own municipality
Shaanxi 陕西 Shǎnxī shǎn Xi'an 西安
Shandong 山东 Shāndōng Jinan 济南
Shanxi 山西 Shānxī jìn Taiyuan 太原
Songjiang 松江 Sōngjiāng sōng Harbin 哈尔滨 1954 abolished → Heilongjiang
Suiyuan 绥远 Suíyuǎn suí Hohhot 呼和浩特 1954 abolished → Inner Mongolia
Taiwan 台湾 Táiwān 台 tái Taipei 台北 claimed since 1949 the founding of the PRC
Xikang 西康 Xīkāng kāng Kangding (1949–50)
Ya'an (1950–55)
1955 abolished → Sichuan, Yunnan, Tibet Autonomous Region
Xing'an 兴安 Xīng'ān xīng Hulunbuir 呼伦贝尔 1949 abolished → Heilongjiang
Xinjiang 新疆 Xīnjiāng jiāng Ürümqi 乌鲁木齐 1955 province → autonomous region
Yunnan 云南 Yúnnán diān Kunming 昆明
Zhejiang 浙江 Zhèjiāng zhè Hangzhou 杭州

Autonomous regions[edit]

Name Hanzi Pinyin Abbreviation Capital Hanzi Note
Guangxi 广西 Guǎngxī guì Nanning 南宁 1958 province → autonomous region
Inner Mongolia 內蒙古 Nèi Měnggǔ měng Ulaanhot (1947–50)
Hohhot (present)
1947 created; 1969 truncated → Liaoning, Heilongjiang,
Jilin, Gansu, Ningxia; 1979 reverted
Ningxia 宁夏 Níngxià níng Yinchuan 银川 1958 special region → autonomous region
Tibet 西藏 Xīzàng zàng Lhasa 拉萨 1965 area → autonomous region
Xinjiang 新疆 Xīnjiāng jiāng Ürümqi 乌鲁木齐 1955 province → autonomous region


Name Hanzi Pinyin Abbreviation Capital Hanzi Note
Anshan 鞍山 Ānshān ān Tiedong District 铁东区 1954 abolished → Liaoning
Beijing 北京 Běijīng jīng Dongcheng District
Tongzhou District
Benxi 本溪 Běnxī běn Pingshan District 平山区 1954 abolished → Liaoning
Changchun 长春 Chángchūn chūn Nanguan District 南关区 1953 created; 1954 abolished → Jilin
Chongqing 重庆 Chóngqìng Yuzhong District 渝中区 1954 abolished → Sichuan; 1997 reverted
Dalian → Lüda 大连→旅大 Dàlián lián Xigang District 西岗区 1949 abolished → Luda, 1950 reverted, 1954 abolished → Liaoning
Fushun 抚顺 Fǔshùn Shuncheng District 顺城区 1954 abolished → Liaoning
Guangzhou 广州 Guǎngzhōu suì Yuexiu District 越秀区 1954 abolished → Guangdong
Harbin 哈尔滨 Hā'ěrbīn Nangang District 南岗区 1953 created, 1954 abolished → Heilongjiang
Nanjing 南京 Nánjīng níng Xuanwu District 玄武区 1952 abolished → Jiangsu
Shanghai 上海 Shànghǎi Huangpu District 黄浦区
Shenyang 沈阳 Shěnyáng shěn Shenhe District 沈河区 1954 abolished → Liaoning
Tianjin 天津 Tiānjīn jīn Heping District 和平区 1954 abolished → Hebei, 1967 reverted
Hankou → Wuhan 汉口→武汉 Wǔhàn hàn Jiang'an District 江岸区 1949 abolished → Hubei
Xi'an 西安 Xī'ān hào Weiyang District 未央区 1954 abolished → Shaanxi

Special administrative regions[edit]

Name Hanzi Pinyin Abbreviation Capital Hanzi Note
Hong Kong 香港 Xiānggǎng gǎng Hong Kong 香港 created 1997 (Transfer of sovereignty over Hong Kong)
Macau 澳门 Àomén ào Macau 澳门 created 1999 (Transfer of sovereignty over Macau)

Administrative territories[edit]

Name Hanzi Pinyin Abbreviation Capital Hanzi Note
Chuanbei 川北 Chuānběi chōng Nanchong 南充 1950 created; 1952 abolished → Sichuan
Chuandong 川东 Chuāndōng Chongqing 重庆 1950 created; 1952 abolished → Sichuan
Chuannan 川南 Chuānnán Luzhou 泸州 1950 created; 1952 abolished → Sichuan
Chuanxi 川西 Chuānxī róng Chengdu 成都 1950 created; 1952 abolished → Sichuan
Hainan 海南 Hǎinán qióng Haikou 海口 1949 abolished → Guangdong
Lüda 旅大 Lǚdà Dalian 大连 1949 created; 1950 abolished → Dalian
Subei 苏北 Sūběi yáng Yangzhou 扬州 1949 created; 1952 abolished → Jiangsu
Sunan 苏南 Sūnán Wuxi 无锡 1949 created; 1952 abolished → Jiangsu
Wanbei 皖北 Wǎnběi Hefei 合肥 1949 created; 1952 abolished → Anhui
Wannan 皖南 Wǎnnán Wuhu 芜湖 1949 created; 1952 abolished → Anhui


Name Hanzi Pinyin Abbreviation Capital Hanzi Note
Tibet 西藏 Xīzàng zàng Lhasa 拉萨 1965 region → autonomous region


Name Hanzi Pinyin Abbreviation Capital Hanzi Note
Qamdo 昌都 Chāngdū chāng Qamdo 昌都 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.


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

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Administrative divisions of China
  2. ^ GB/T 2260 codes for the provinces of China
  3. ^ ISO 3166-2:CN (ISO 3166-2 codes for the provinces of China)
  4. ^ "Xinhua". 
  5. ^ "Doing Business in China - Survey". Ministry Of Commerce - People's Republic Of China. Retrieved 5 August 2013. 

External links[edit]