Province of China

This article is part
of the series:
Political divisions of China
Province level
Autonomous regions
Special Administrative Regions
Prefecture level
Autonomous prefectures
Prefecture-level cities
(incl. Sub-provincial cities)
County level
Autonomous counties
County-level cities
(incl. Sub-prefecture-level cities)
Autonomous banners
Township level
Ethnic townships
Ethnic sumu
District public offices

A province, in the context of China, is a translation of sheng (省 shěng), which is an administrative division of China. Together with municipalities and autonomous regions, provinces make up the first level (known as the province level) of administrative division in Mainland China. The Special Administrative Regions of Hong Kong and Macau are officially considered to be province-level as well, though in reality they have much more autonomy than regular provinces, autonomous regions, or municipalities.

Theoretically, provinces are also the first level division of the Republic of China on Taiwan, though this role has been greatly diminished.

The People's Republic of China currently administers 22 provinces, out of a total of 33 province level divisions, and claims a 23rd province, Taiwan Province. The Republic of China administers the entirety of Taiwan Province, as well as some offshore islands of Fujian province, and two municipalities (Taipei and Kaohsiung).

In the PRC, every province has a Communist Party of China provincial committee, headed by a secretary. The committee secretary is first-in-charge of the province, rather than the governor of the provincial government.


Alternative meanings

"Province" is also a translation of zhou, a division of the Han Dynasty, as well as circuits, a division of the Tang Dynasty and Song Dynasty.

See History of the political divisions of China.

List and map

Missing image
Administrative divisions of the


Provinces administered by the People's Republic of China
Name Chinese (S) pinyin Abbreviation Capital List of county-level divisions
Anhui安徽Ānhuī皖 wǎnHefeiList of county-level divisions
Fujian福建Fjin闽 mǐnFuzhouList of county-level divisions
Gansu甘肃Gāns甘 gān or 陇 lǒngLanzhouList of county-level divisions
Guangdong广东Guǎngdōng粤 yuGuangzhouList of county-level divisions
Guizhou贵州Guzhōu黔 qin or 贵 guGuiyangList of county-level divisions
Hainan海南Hǎinn琼 qingHaikouList of county-level divisions
Hebei河北Hběi冀 jShijiazhuangList of county-level divisions
Heilongjiang黑龙江Hēilngjiāng黑 hēiHarbinList of county-level divisions
Henan河南Hnn豫 yZhengzhouList of county-level divisions
Hubei湖北HběiWuhanList of county-level divisions
Hunan湖南Hnn湘 xiāngChangshaList of county-level divisions
Jiangsu江苏Jiāngsū苏 sūNanjingList of county-level divisions
Jiangxi江西Jiāngxī赣 gnNanchangList of county-level divisions
Jilin吉林Jln吉 jChangchunList of county-level divisions
Liaoning辽宁Lionng辽 lioShenyangList of county-level divisions
Qinghai青海Qīnghǎi青 qīngXiningList of county-level divisions
Shaanxi陕西Shǎnxī陕 shǎn or 秦 qnXi'anList of county-level divisions
Shandong山东Shāndōng鲁 lǔJinanList of county-level divisions
Shanxi山西Shānxī晋 jnTaiyuanList of county-level divisions
Sichuan四川Schuān川 chuān or 蜀 shǔChengduList of county-level divisions
Yunnan云南Ynnn滇 diān or 云 ynKunmingList of county-level divisions
Zhejiang浙江Zhjiāng浙 zhHangzhouList of county-level divisions


The provinces of China were first set up during the Yuan Dynasty. There were initially 10 provinces. By the time of the Qing Dynasty there were 18, all of which were in China proper. These were:

For every province, there was a xunfu (巡撫), a political overseer on behalf of the emperor behalf and a tidu (提督), 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. Manchuria (consisting of Fengtian (now Liaoning), Jilin, Heilongjiang), Xinjiang, and Mongolia were overseen by military leaders or generals (將軍) and vice-tudong (副都統), and civilian leaders were heads of the leagues (盟長), a subdivision of Mongolia.

In 1878, Xinjiang became a province, in 1909, Fengtian, Jilin, and Heilongjiang were made provinces as well. Taiwan was made a province in 1887, but it was ceded 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 4 more provinces in Inner Mongolia and 2 provinces in historic Tibet, bringing the total to 28. 4 provinces were however lost with the establishment of the Japanese puppet state of Manchukuo in Manchuria. After the defeat of Japan in World War II, Manchuria was reincorporated as 10 provinces, and Taiwan was also returned to China. As a result, the Republic of China had 35 provinces. Although the Republic of China now only controls one province (Taiwan Province) and some islands of a second province (Fujian), it continues to claim (in theory at least) 35 provinces.

The People's Republic of China abolished many of the provinces in the 1950s and converted a number of them into autonomous regions. Hainan was set up as a separate province in 1988, bringing the total number of provinces to 22.

See also

id:Daftar Provinsi Tiongkok zh:省 (中华人民共和国)


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