Provinces of China

Provinces of China

Province-level administrative divisions
Chinese name
Simplified Chinese 省级行政区
Traditional Chinese 省級行政區
Alternative Chinese name
Tibetan name
Tibetan ཞིང་ཆེན།
Zhuang name
Zhuang Swngj
Mongolian name
Mongolian script ᠮᠤᠶᠶ
Uyghur name

Provinces (Chinese: ; pinyin: Shěng), formally province-level administrative divisions (Chinese: 省级行政区; pinyin: Shěng Jí Xíngzhèngqū) are the highest-level Chinese administrative divisions. There are 34 such divisions, classified as 22 provinces, 4 municipalities, 5 autonomous regions, 2 Special Administrative Regions, and the claimed Taiwan Province.[1]

The People's Republic of China (PRC) claims sovereignty over the territory administered by Taiwan (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.

Every province has a Communist Party of China provincial committee, headed by a secretary beside the two special administrative regions. The committee secretary is in effective charge of the province, rather than the nominal governor of the provincial government.


  • Types of province-level divisions 1
    • Direct-controlled municipality 1.1
    • Province 1.2
    • Autonomous region 1.3
    • Special administrative region (SAR) 1.4
  • List of province-level divisions 2
  • History 3
    • List of former provinces 3.1
  • Economies 4
  • See also 5
  • References 6
  • External links 7

Types of province-level divisions

Direct-controlled municipality

Direct-controlled municipality (Chinese: 直辖市; pinyin: zhíxiáshì): 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 common provinces.


Province (Chinese: ; pinyin: shěng): A provincial committee, headed by a secretary, nominally leads each standard provincial government. The committee secretary is first-in-charge of the province; second-in-command comes 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").

Autonomous region

Autonomous region (simplified Chinese: 自治区; traditional Chinese: 自治區; pinyin: zìzhìqū): 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 the Autonomous Regions is usually appointed from the respective minority ethnic group.

Special administrative region (SAR)

Special administrative region (SAR) (simplified Chinese: 特别行政区; traditional Chinese: 特別行政區; pinyin: tèbié xíngzhèngqū): A highly autonomous and self-governing subnational subject of the People's Republic of China that is directly under the Central People's Government. Each SAR has a provincial level[2][3][4] 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

GB[5] ISO[6] Province Chinese
Hanyu Pinyin
Capital Population¹ Density² Area³ Abbreviation
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 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
Nèi Měnggǔ
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
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 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 8,671,518 255.04 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
Gùizhōu 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
HK CN-91 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
MC CN-92 Macau Special Administrative Region 澳门特别行政区
Àomén Tèbié Xíngzhèngqū
Macau 552,300 19,044.82 29
TW CN-71 Taiwan Province * 台湾省
Táiwān Shěng
Taipei 23,140,000 650.34 35,581


¹: as of 2010
²: per km²
³: km²
°: Abbreviation/Symbol in the parentheses are informal
*: Since its 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. The Republic of China (ROC, "Taiwan") currently administers Taiwan, Penghu, Kinmen and Matsu


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.
The rulers of China first set up provinces—initially 10 in number—during the Yuan Dynasty (1271–1368). By the time of the establishment of the Qing Dynasty in 1644 there were 18 provinces, all of them in China proper. These were:

Each province had a xunfu (巡撫; translated as "governor"), a political overseer on behalf of the emperor, and a tidu (提督; translated as "Captain General"), a military governor. In addition, there was a zongdu (總督), 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) oversaw Manchuria (consisting of Fengtian (now Liaoning), Jilin, Heilongjiang), Xinjiang, and Mongolia, while vice-dutong (副都統) and civilian leaders headed the leagues (盟長), a subdivision of Mongolia. The ambans (驻藏大臣) 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.

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. 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.

List of former provinces


Administrative divisions of China
Greater Administrative Areas
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 GAA Note
Andong 安东 Āndōng 安 ān Tonghua 通化 Dongbei 1949 abolished → Liaodong, Jilin
Anhui 安徽 Ānhuī 皖 wǎn Hefei 合肥 Dongbei 1949 abolished → Wanbei, Wannan; 1952 reverted
Chahar 察哈尔 Cháhā'ěr 察 chá Zhangjiakou 张家口 Huabei 1952 abolished → Inner Mongolia, Hebei
Fujian 福建 Fújiàn 闽 mǐn Fuzhou 福州 Huadong
Gansu 甘肃 Gānsù 甘 gān Lanzhou 兰州 Xibei 1958 Ningxia split into its own autonomous region
Guangdong 广东 Guǎngdōng 粤 yuè Guangzhou 广州 Zhongnan 1952 & 1965 Fangchenggang, Qinzhou, Beihai → Guangxi; 1955 reverted
1988 Hainan split into its own province
Guangxi 广西 Guǎngxī 桂 guì Nanning 南宁 Zhongnan 1958 province → autonomous region
Guizhou 贵州 Guìzhōu 黔 qián Guiyang 贵阳 Xinan
Hainan 海南 Hǎinán 琼 qióng Haikou 海口 Zhongnan
Hebei 河北 Héběi 冀 jì Baoding (49-54; 67-68)
Tianjin (54-67)
Shijiazhuang (present)
Huabei 1967 Tianjin split into its own municipality
Hejiang 合江 Héjiāng 合 hé Jiamusi 佳木斯 Dongbei 1949 abolished → Heilongjiang
Heilongjiang 黑龙江 Hēilóngjiāng 黑 hēi Qiqihar (49-54)
Harbin (present)
Dongbei 1952 part of Xing'an split into Inner Mongolia
Henan 河南 Hénán 豫 yù Kaifeng (49-54)
Zhengzhou (present)
Hubei 湖北 Húběi 鄂 è Wuhan 武汉 Zhongnan
Hunan 湖南 Húnán 湘 xiāng Changsha 长沙 Zhongnan
Jiangsu 江苏 Jiāngsū 苏 sū Nanjing 南京 Huadong 1949 abolished → Subei, Subnan; 1952 reverted
Jiangxi 江西 Jiāngxī 赣 gàn Nanchang 南昌 Huadong
Jilin 吉林 Jílín 吉 jí Jilin (49-54)
Changchun (present)
Dongbei 1952 north part split into Inner Mongolia
Liaobei 辽北 Liáoběi 洮 táo Liaoyuan 辽源 Dongbei 1949 abolished → Jilin, Liaoning
Liaodong 辽东 Liáodōng 关 guān Dandong 丹东 Dongbei 1954 abolished → Liaoning
Liaoning 辽宁 Liáoníng 辽 liáo Shenyang 沈阳 Dongbei 1949 abolished → Liaodong, Liaoxi; 1954 reverted
1952 north part split into Inner Mongolia
Liaoxi 辽西 Liáoxī 辽 liáo Jinzhou 锦州 Dongbei 1954 abolished → Liaoning
Nenjiang 嫩江 Nènjiāng 嫩 nèn Qiqihar 齐齐哈尔 Dongbei 1949 abolished → Heilongjiang
Ningxia 宁夏 Níngxià 宁 níng Yinchuan 银川 Xibei 1954 province → Gansu
Mudanjiang 牡丹江 Mǔdānjiāng 丹 dān Mudanjiang 牡丹江 Dongbei 1949 abolished → Heilongjiang
Pingyuan 平原 Píngyuán 平 píng Xinxiang 新乡 Zhongnan 1952 abolished → Henan, Shandong
Qinghai 青海 Qīnghǎi 青 qīng Xining 西宁 Xibei
Rehe 热河 Rèhé 热 rè Chengde 承德 Dongbei 1955 abolished → Inner Mongolia, & Liaoning
Sichuan 四川 Sìchuān 川 chuān Chengdu 成都 Xinan 1949 abolished → Chuanbei, Chuandong, Chuannan, Chuanxi; 1952 reverted
1997 Chongqing split into its own municipality
Shaanxi 陕西 Shǎnxī 陕 shǎn Xi'an 西安安 Xibei
Shandong 山东 Shāndōng 鲁 lǔ Jinan 济南 Huadong
Shanxi 山西 Shānxī 晋 jìn Taiyuan 太原 Huabei
Songjiang 松江 Sōngjiāng 松 sōng Harbin 哈尔滨 Dongbei 1954 abolished → Heilongjiang
Suiyuan 绥远 Suíyuǎn 绥 suí Hohhot 呼和浩特 Huabei 1954 abolished → Inner Mongolia
Taiwan 台湾 Táiwān 台 tái Taibei 台北 Huadong claimed since 1949 the founding of the PRC
Xikang 西康 Xīkāng 康 kāng Kangding (49-50)
Ya'an (50-55)
Xinan 1955 abolished → Sichuan & Qamdo
Xing'an 兴安 Xīkāng 兴 xīng Hulunbuir 呼伦贝尔 Dongbei 1949 abolished → Heilongjiang
Xinjiang 新疆 Xīnjiāng 疆 jiāng Ürümqi 乌鲁木齐 Xibei 1955 province → autonomous region
Yunnan 云南 Yúnnán 滇 diān Kunming 昆明 Xinan
Zhejiang 浙江 Zhèjiāng 浙 zhè Hangzhou 杭州 Huadong
Autonomous Regions
Guangxi 广西 Guǎngxī 桂 guì Nanning 南宁 Zhongnan 1958 province → autonomous region
Inner Mongolia 內蒙古 Nèi Měnggǔ 蒙 měng Ulaanhot (47-50)
Hohhot (present)
Huabei 1947 created; 1969 truncated → Liaoning, Heilongjiang,
Jilin, Gansu, Ningxia; 1979 reverted
Ningxia 宁夏 Níngxià 宁 níng Yinchuan 银川 Xibei 1958 special region → autonomous region
Tibet 西藏 Xīzàng 藏 zàng Lhasa 拉萨 Xinan 1965 region → autonomous region
Xinjiang 新疆 Xīnjiāng 疆 jiāng Ürümqi 乌鲁木齐 Xibei 1955 province → autonomous region
Anshan 鞍山 Ānshān 鞍 ān Tiedong District 铁东区 Dongbei 1954 abolished → Liaoning
Beijing 北京 Běijīng 京 jīng Dongcheng District 东城区 Huabei
Benxi 本溪 Běnxī 本 běn Pingshan District 平山区 Dongbei 1954 abolished → Liaoning
Changchun 长春 Chángchūn 春 chūn Nanguan District 南关区 Dongbei 1953 created; 1954 abolished → Jilin
Chongqing 重庆 Chóngqìng 渝 yú Yuzhong District 渝中区 Xinan 1954 abolished → Sichuan; 1997 reverted
Dalian → Lüda 大连→旅大 Dàlián 连 lián Xigang District 西岗区 Dongbei 1949 abolished → Luda, 1950 reverted, 1954 abolished → Liaoning
Fushun 抚顺 Fǔshùn 抚 fǔ Shuncheng District 顺城区 Dongbei 1954 abolished → Liaoning
Harbin 哈尔滨 Hāěrbīn 哈 hā Nangang District 南岗区 Dongbei 1953 created, 1954 abolished → Heilongjiang
Guangzhou 广州 Guǎngzhōu 穗 suì Yuexiu District 越秀区 Zhongnan 1954 abolished → Guangdong
Nanjing 南京 Nánjīng 宁 níng Xuanwu District 宣武区 Huadong 1952 abolished → Jiangsu
Shanghai 上海 Shànghǎi 沪 hù Huangpu District 黄浦区 Huadong
Shenyang 沈阳 Shěnyáng 沈 shěn Shenhe District 沈河区 Dongbei 1954 abolished → Liaoning
Tianjin 天津 Tiānjīn 津 jīn Heping District 和平区 Huabei 1954 abolished → Hebei, 1967 reverted
Hankou → Wuhan 汉口→武汉 Wǔhàn 汉 hàn Jiang'an District 江岸区 Zhongnan 1949 abolished → Hubei
Xi'an 西安 Xī'ān 镐 hào Weiyang District 未央区 Xibei 1954 abolished → Shaanxi
Special Administrative Regions
Hainan 海南 Hǎinán 琼 qióng Haikou 海口 Zhongnan 1949 abolished → Guangdong
Hong Kong 香港 Xiānggǎng 港 gǎng Hong Kong 香港 Zhongnan 1997 created (Transfer of sovereignty over Hong Kong)
Macau 澳门 Àomén 澳 ào Macau 澳门 Zhongnan 1999 created (Transfer of sovereignty over Macau)
Administrative Territories
Chuanbei 川北 Chuānběi 充 chōng Nanchong 南充 Xinan 1950 created; 1952 abolished → Sichuan
Chuandong 川东 Chuāndōng 渝 yú Chongqing 重庆 Xinan 1950 created; 1952 abolished → Sichuan
Chuannan 川南 Chuānnán 泸 lú Luzhou 泸州 Xinan 1950 created; 1952 abolished → Sichuan
Chuanxi 川西 Chuānxī 蓉 róng Chengdu 成都 Xinan 1950 created; 1952 abolished → Sichuan
Subei 苏北 Sūběi 扬 yáng Yangzhou 扬州 Huadong 1949 created; 1952 abolished → Jiangsu
Sunan 苏南 Sūnán 锡 xī Wuxi 无锡 Huadong 1949 created; 1952 abolished → Jiangsu
Wanbei 皖北 Wǎnběi 合 hé Hefei 合肥 Huadong 1949 created; 1952 abolished → Anhui
Wannan 皖南 Wǎnnán 芜 wú Wuhu 芜湖 Huadong 1949 created; 1952 abolished → Anhui
Lüda 旅大 Lǚdà 旅 Lǚ Dalian 大连 Dongbei 1949 created; 1950 abolished → Dalian
Tibet 西藏 Xīzàng 藏 zàng Lhasa 拉萨 Xinan 1965 region → autonomous region
Qamdo 昌都 Chāngdū 昌 chāng Qamdo 昌都 Xinan 1965 merge 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


  1. ^ Administrative divisions of China
  2. ^ Administrative divisions of the People's Republic of China (中华人民共和国行政区划; Zhōnghuá Rénmín Gònghéguó Xíngzhèng Qūhuà), 15 June 2005, retrieved 5 June 2010 
  3. ^ Chapter II : Relationship between the Central Authorities and the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, Article 12, retrieved 5 June 2010 
  4. ^ Chapter II Relationship between the Central Authorities and the Macao Special Administrative Region, Article 12, retrieved 5 June 2010 
  5. ^ GB/T 2260 codes for the provinces of China
  6. ^ ISO 3166-2 codes for the provinces of China)

External links

  • Interactive WebMap — with economic indicators for all Chinese Provinces.