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Encyclopedia > Chinese provinces
For other province-level divisions, see Political divisions 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
District public offices
Ethnic townships
Ethnic sumu

A province, in the context of China, is a translation of sheng (省 shěng), which is an administrative division of China. Provinces form part of the first level in the administrative structure of the People's Republic of China. Theoretically, provinces are also the first level division of the 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).

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

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 wǎn Hefei List of county-level divisions
Fujian 福建 Fjin 闽 mǐn Fuzhou List of county-level divisions
Gansu 甘肃 Gāns 甘 gān or 陇 lǒng Lanzhou List of county-level divisions
Guangdong 广东 Guǎngdōng 粤 yu Guangzhou List of county-level divisions
Guizhou 贵州 Guzhōu 黔 qin or 贵 gu Guiyang List of county-level divisions
Hainan 海南 Hǎinn 琼 qing Haikou List of county-level divisions
Hebei 河北 Hběi 冀 j Shijiazhuang List of county-level divisions
Heilongjiang 黑龙江 Hēilngjiāng 黑 hēi Harbin List of county_level divisions
Henan 河南 Hnn 豫 y Zhengzhou List of county-level divisions
Hubei 湖北 Hběi Wuhan List of county-level divisions
Hunan 湖南 Hnn 湘 xiāng Changsha List of county-level divisions
Jiangsu 江苏 Jiāngsū 苏 sū Nanjing List of county-level divisions
Jiangxi 江西 Jiāngxī 赣 gn Nanchang List of county-level divisions
Jilin 吉林 Jln 吉 j Changchun List of county-level divisions
Liaoning 辽宁 Lionng 辽 lio Shenyang List of county-level divisions
Qinghai 青海 Qīnghǎi 青 qīng Xining List of county-level divisions
Shaanxi 陕西 Shǎnxī 陕 shǎn or 秦 qn Xi'an List of county-level divisions
Shandong 山东 Shāndōng 鲁 lǔ Jinan List of county-level divisions
Shanxi 山西 Shānxī 晋 jn Taiyuan List of county-level divisions
Sichuan 四川 Schuān 川 chuān or 蜀 shǔ Chengdu List of county-level divisions
Yunnan 云南 Ynnn 滇 diān or 云 yn Kunming List of county-level divisions
Zhejiang 浙江 Zhjiāng 浙 zh Hangzhou List 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 emperor's behalf and a tidu (提督), a military governor. In addition, there was a zongdu (總督), a general military inspector, for every two or three provinces.

Outer regions of China 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 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.

  Results from FactBites:
Province of China - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (675 words)
A province, in the context of China, is a translation of sheng (省 shěng), which is an administrative division of China.
Theoretically, provinces are also the first level division of the Republic of China on Taiwan, though this role has been greatly diminished.
Separated from Guangdong and established in 1988, Hainan is the youngest province of China.
Chinese language - definition of Chinese language in Encyclopedia (3438 words)
The Chinese language, spoken in the form of Standard Mandarin, is the official language of the People's Republic of China in mainland China and the Republic of China on Taiwan, as well as one of four official languages of Singapore, and one of six official languages of the United Nations.
The terms and concepts used by Chinese to think about language are different from those used in the West, partly because of the unifying effects of the Chinese characters used in writing, and partly because of differences in the political and social development of China in comparison with Europe.
Old Chinese (上古漢語), sometimes known as 'Archaic Chinese', was the language common during the early and middle Zhou Dynasty (11th to 7th centuries B.C.), texts of which include inscriptions on bronze artifacts, the poetry of the Shijing, the history of the Shujing, and portions of the Yijing (I Ching).
  More results at FactBites »



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