Townships and county-administered cities

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Townships/cities
Also known as:
Townships and county-administered cities
CategoryTownships/cities and districts
LocationTaiwan
Found inCounty
Created byLocal Government Act[1]
Created1999-01-25
Number198 (as of 2019)
Government
  • Township/city office
  • Representative council
SubdivisionsVillage

Townships and county-administered cities, abbreviated as townships/cities, is a class of administrative divisions of counties in Taiwan under the Local Government Act.[1] In contrast to districts, townships/cities have self-governing bodies.

Terminology[edit]

There is little practical difference between townships and county-administered cities. The distinction is largely due to historical reasons and today serves the purpose of categorisation.

In Chinese, there are two types of townships: xīang (Chinese: ) and zhèn (Chinese: ), with little practical difference between the two. Townships/cities are further divided into villages. Villages of xīang townships are known as tsūn (Chinese: ) while those of other types are known as (Chinese: ).

History[edit]

Zhudong, an township in Hsinchu County
Jiadong, a township in Pingtung County
Jianshi, a mountain indigenous township in Hsinchu County

The borders of modern townships/cities in Taiwan can be traced to the 1920s during Japanese rule. Cities were under the jurisdiction of prefectures. After the World War II, 9 out of 11 prefectural cities established by the Japanese government were reform into provincial cities. The reform was based on the Laws on the City Formation (市組織法) of the Republic of China.

With this reform, the populations of Hualien and Yilan were too low to become a provincial city, but are much more important than other townships. Thus the special administrative division type is created in Scheme on the Local Rules in Various Counties and Cities of Taiwan Province (臺灣省各縣市實施地方自治綱要). During this period, a county is divided into county-administered cities and county-administered townships. The level of a county-administered city was higher than a township.

After World War II, the townships were established from the following conversions on the Japanese administrative divisions:

Divisions before 1945 Divisions after 1945
Name Kanji Japanese
Hepburn
Taiwanese
Pe̍h-ōe-jī
Name Chinese Mandarin
Pinyin
Taiwanese
Pe̍h-ōe-jī
Town gai ke Urban township zhèn tìn
Village chng Rural township xiāng hiong
Aboriginal areas 蕃地 banchi hoan-tē Mountain indigenous township 山地鄉 shāndì xiāng soaⁿ-tē hiong

In 1951, a large scale administrative division reorganisation took place. The size of counties shrank. County-administered districts were abolished. This puts county-administered cities and townships into the same level in the hierarchy. Four provincial cities were also downgraded to county-administered cities after this reorganisation. Since the county-administered cities are based on the law for Taiwan Province, Kinmen County and Lienchiang County under Fukien do not have any cities under their jurisdiction.

The population criterion for converting to a city was originally 50,000 in the 1940s, but was raised to 100,000 in 1959, again in 1977 to 150,000, and in 2015 it was lower back to 100,000.

Establishment[edit]

Although local laws do not enforce strict standards for classifying townships, generally a zhèn township have a larger population and more business and industry than a xīang township, but not to the extent of a county-administered city. Penghu and Lienchiang are the only two counties that do not have zhèn townships.

In order to be converted to a city, a township needs to have a population above 100,000 and occupies major political, economical and cultural roles. Not all existing county-administered cities have a population over 100,000. As of March 2019, the townships of Caotun, Zhudong, and Hemei have populations over 90,000, close to the conversion criterion.

Administration[edit]

Currently, there are 198 townships/cities. In contrast to districts, townships/cities have self-governing bodies consisting of a township/city office with an popularly elected mayor and a representative council with elected representatives.[1] Mayors and representatives have four-year terms and can be re-elected for a second term.

Matters for which township/city governments are responsible or partially responsible include social services, education, culture, sports, public health and safety, construction, transport, tourism, and business.

Townships/cities are further divided into villages.

Mountain indigenous districts[edit]

In special municipalities, mountain indigenous districts (MID) have a similar status to township/cities under the Local Government Act.[1] MIDs also have self-governing bodies. Currently there are 6 MIDs.[2]

See also[edit]

Overview of administrative divisions of Taiwan
Republic of China
Free area[i] Mainland area
Special municipalities[G][ii] Provinces[iii] Not administered[iv]
Counties[G] Cities[G][v]
Districts[O] Mountain indigenous districts[G] Townships and county-administered cities[G][vi] Districts[O]
Villages[O][vii]
Neighborhoods
Notes
[G] Has an administrative body with an elected leader and a legislative body with elected members
[O] Has a governmental office for managing local affairs and carrying out commissioned tasks by superior agency


Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Also known as the Taiwan area or Tai–Min area (Chinese: 臺閩地區; literally: 'Taiwan–Fujian area')
  2. ^ In Chinese, special municipalities, cities, and county-administered cities have the word shi (Chinese: ; literally: 'city') in their official names
  3. ^ Nominal; provincial governments have been abolished
  4. ^ Constitutionally having the same structure as the free area
  5. ^ Cities are sometimes called provincial cities (Chinese: 省轄市) to distinguish them from the other two types of cities.
  6. ^ In Chinese, there are two types of townships: xīang (Chinese: ) and zhèng (Chinese: ); there is little practical difference between the two
  7. ^ In Chinese, villages of xīang townships are known as tsūn (Chinese: ), those of other types are known as (Chinese: )

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d "Local Government Act - Article Content - Laws & Regulations Database of The Republic of China". law.moj.gov.tw. Retrieved 13 November 2019.
  2. ^ "年底選舉9合1 增列原住民區長、區民代表 - 政治 - 自由時報電子報". 自由電子報 (in Chinese). 13 May 2014. Retrieved 14 November 2019.