Provinces of China

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Following ISO 3166-1, Macau (sic) is also listed as a country. See Macau country page. At the same time, since 2002-05-21 (see source [8]), in ISO 3166-2, Macao (sic), denoting the same territory, is listed as a special administrative division of China. Similarly, ISO 3166-1 lists Hong Kong and Taiwan as countries while ISO 3166-2 lists Hong Kong as a special administrative division of China and Taiwan as a province of China. Despite the ISO 3166-2 standard, Taiwan is not under de facto administration by China. According to source [7], "Cross-Strait relations have become more difficult since the elections in January 2016. Beijing has criticised Tsai Ing-wen for failing to endorse the '1992 Consensus' and has suspended official and semi-official channels of communication. For Taiwan, international recognition remains important. The United Nations and most countries - including Australia - recognise the PRC in Beijing as the sole legal government of China (as opposed to the ROC in Taipei). Currently fifteen states recognise Taiwan as the ROC (and thus do not have official relations with Beijing): Belize, Guatemala, Haiti, Holy See, Honduras, Marshall Islands, Nauru, Nicaragua, Palau, Paraguay, St Lucia, St Kitts and Nevis, St Vincent and the Grenadines, Swaziland and Tuvalu."

I added data from the 2010 census.

ISO/DIS 3166-2 (draft international standard) was published in 1996. For China, it showed 22 provinces, five autonomous regions, and three municipalities. Besides those, it listed Hong Kong and Macau in brackets as special regions. These two were assigned codes as divisions of China (CN-91 and CN-92, respectively), but this was clearly meant as a second choice. The main intent of the draft was to represent Hong Kong (HK) and Macau (MO) as separate countries.

International standard ISO 3166-2, no longer a draft but a full-fledged standard, was published on 1998-12-15. Since the appearance of the draft standard, two changes had occurred in the real world. On 1997-03-14, Chongqing municipality split from Sichuan province; on 1997-07-01, Hong Kong became a special administrative region of China. The revisions made to the draft standard were the addition of Taiwan province (cross-referenced to TW) and Chongqing municipality, the deletion of Macau special region, and the change of code for Hainan province from CN-00 to CN-46.

ISO's policy is that isolated external territories of a country can be assigned separate country codes, where such codes are needed for information interchange. This policy was applied to Hong Kong, whose country code, HK, has been allowed to remain in the standard. In the final standard, the codes HK and CN-91 are equally acceptable for Hong Kong. (In my observation, users seem to prefer to stick with HK.) On the other hand, the code CN-92 was dropped, and only the country code MO was allowed for Macau.

With the change in Hainan province's ISO code, all of the two-digit ISO codes matched the GB2260 (Guobiao) codes for the primary divisions of China, except for Hong Kong (ISO 91, Guobiao 81). Also, before Macau came under Chinese sovereignty, it was announced that its Guobiao code would be 82. The Guobiao code for Taiwan is 71.

Portugal's lease on Macau ended on 1999-12-20, and Macau reverted to China as a second special administrative region.

ISO 3166-2 Newsletter Number I-2 was published on 2002-05-21. It shows the Chinese name for "special administrative region" as "tebie xingzhengqu". It also gives the Chinese names for three divisions: Neimenggu for Nei Mongol (which is said to be Mongolian), Xianggang for Hong Kong, and Aomen for Macau. It now allows the code CN-92 for Macau.

ISO 3166-2 Newsletter Number I-6 was published on 2004-03-08. The only difference between it and the previous version for China is the omission of the name Neimenggu for Nei Mongol.

Change No. 1 to FIPS Publication 10-4 was published on 1998-12-01. It showed the splitting of Chongqing municipality from Sichuan province by assigning the FIPS code CH33 to Chongqing, changing the code for Sichuan from CH27 to CH32. Chongqing and Sichuan were conventionally transcribed as Chungking and Szechwan in roughly the first half of the twentieth century.

Country overview: 

Short nameCHINA
ISO codeCN
LanguageChinese (zh)
Time zone+8


At the beginning of the 20th century, an emperor ruled China. It was riddled with European spheres of influence and leased territories. On 1912-01-01, the emperor was overthrown and a republic was proclaimed. In 1931, Japan occupied Manchuria. During World War II, Japan overran a substantial part of China. All of its conquests were nullified by the Allied victory in 1945. Meanwhile, Mao Zedong was leading a Communist revolution which, by 1950, had conquered all of China except Taiwan. In recent years, all concerned parties have agreed that there is only one China, without resolving which is the legitimate government thereof: the People's Republic of China which exercises power on the mainland, or the Republic of China which rules Taiwan. Taiwan is just one province of this theoretically unified country. This website follows ISO standard 3166 in offering two listings, under the names China and Taiwan.

Other names of country: 

  1. Chinese: Zhongguo, Zhonghua Renmin Gonghe Guo (formal)
  2. Danish: Kina
  3. Dutch: China, Volksrepubliek China (formal)
  4. English: People's Republic of China (formal)
  5. Finnish: Kiina, Kiinan kansantasavalta (formal)
  6. French: Chine f
  7. German: Volksrepublik f China n (formal)
  8. Icelandic: Kína
  9. Italian: Cina f
  10. Norwegian: Kina, Folkerepublikken Kina (formal)
  11. Portuguese: China, República f Popular da China f (formal)
  12. Russian: КНР (abbr), Китай, Китайская Народная Республика (formal)
  13. Spanish: China, República f Popular de China f (formal)
  14. Swedish: Kina
  15. Turkish: Çin Halk Cumhuriyeti (formal)

Origin of name: 

Latin Sina, ancient form of the province name Shaanxi (controversial)

Zhongguo is Chinese zhong: middle + guo kingdom, country.

Primary subdivisions: 

China is divided into 22 sheng (provinces), five zizhiqu (autonomous regions), and four shih (municipalities under direct control of the central government). It also has two special autonomous regions (Hong Kong and Macau) and claims sovereignty over a 23rd province (Taiwan). These three are listed as separate countries.

Guangxi Zhuanga+CN.GX45GXCH16kc53-5446,026,629235,00190,734Kwangsi ChuangNanning
Hong Kong (en)saCN.HK81HKCHHKhk 7,070,3881,095423Hong KongVictoria
MacausaCN.MO82MOCHMCmh 650,8343012MacauMacau
Nei MongolaCN.NM15NMCH20im01-0224,706,3211,181,104456,027Inner MongoliaHohhot
Ningxia HuiaCN.NX64NXCH21nn756,301,35052,18820,150Ningsia HuiYinchuan
TaiwanpCN.TW71TWCHTW 23,123,86636,19213,974TaiwanTaipei
Xinjiang UyguraCN.XJ65XJCH13su83-8421,813,3341,743,441673,146Sinkiang UighurUrumqi
34 divisions1,370,569,9409,688,7463,778,163
  • Type: p = provinces, a = autonomous regions, sa = special autonomous regions, m = municipalities. Plusses (+) mark the
    traditional "eighteen provinces."
  • HASC: Hierarchical administrative subdivision codes.
  • GBn: Guobiao 2260-1999 numeric province codes. Prepend CN- to get ISO codes.
  • GBa: Guobiao 2260-1999 alphabetic province codes (see note below).
  • FIPS: Codes from FIPS PUB 10-4, a U.S. government standard. On 2008-09-02, FIPS was withdrawn by the National Instutes of Science and Technology as a data processing standard [5].
  • MARC: Prefix "a-cc-" to get MARC bibliographic codes (see note below).
  • Post: China uses six-digit postal codes. The first two digits indicate the province. There is no postal code in Hong Kong or Macau [6].
  • Population: 2010-11-01 census (source [1]).
  • Area: Figures provided by Karem Abdalla.
  • Conventional: See spelling note below.


Spelling note: Because of the many systems used to transliterate Chinese characters into the Roman alphabet, there are an inordinate number of variant spellings for place names within China. The Pinyin system, devised by Chinese scholars in the 1950s and used as the standard Romanization of the People's Republic of China since 1979, is now widely accepted. The Wade-Giles system was commonly used in English texts before then. Western conventional spelling is not a system, but refers to naive transcriptions that have been in common use. In the main table of divisions, I list the Pinyin and conventional transcriptions of province names, and the Pinyin form of capitals. In the change history, I have tried to choose the transcriptions most likely to be found in historical sources in English. Pinyin equivalents are given with "p:". The list of other names of subdivisions attempts to communicate a feel for the kind of variations that occur. In that table, some variants are translations rather than transliterations. Note how each language uses its own phonetic conventions to render similar sounds.

Guobiao note: The Chinese National Bureau of Standards created a hierarchical set of codes for the first-, second-, and third-level administrative subdivisions. In a six-digit code, the first two digits indicate a province, the next two a prefecture or municipality on the prefecture level, and the last two a county or municipality on the county level. The standard is designated GB2260, where GB stands for Guobiao, and the codes are called Guobiao codes. (They should not be confused with the Guobiao codes for Chinese characters, which are defined by standard GB12345.) The Guobiao two-digit province codes are listed in the main table above. In addition, China has assigned codes to Hong Kong (81), Macau (82), and Taiwan is (71). ISO codes for Hong Kong and Macau begin with 9 instead of 8; remember that those SARs also have country codes of their own.

Source [2] says that Guobiao standard 2260-1999, in addition to its six-digit codes for administrative divisions, has a set of two-letter codes for the provincial-level divisions. I have added them to the table above. Codes are also assigned for Hong Kong (HK), Macau (MC), and Taiwan (TW).

MARC note: There are two sets of geographic MARC codes. MARC stands for Machine Readable Cataloging. MARC country codes are two or three letters long. When they are three letters long, they represent a subnational unit; this is only implemented for four countries: Australia, Canada, U.S., and U.K. MARC geographic area codes are seven characters long, and are left-padded with hyphens if necessary. In most cases, the first letter represents a global region such as a continent. The format for the rest of the code varies. Codes for subnational units are implemented for five countries: the four above and China. These subnational codes have the form r-cc-ss, where r represents the global region, cc represents the country, and ss represents the statoid. In the main table above, I've added MARC codes for the provinces and cities of China. The MARC codes for Hong Kong and Macau are a-cc-hk and a-cc-mh, respectively.

Further subdivisions:

See the Prefectures of China page.

First-level subdivisions of China are provinces, autonomous regions, and municipalities, as shown. There are about 350 second-level divisions, including municipalities under direct provincial control, t'i-ch'ü (prefectures, or areas), chuan-ch'ü (special districts), tzu-chih-chou (autonomous districts), hsing-cheng-ch'ü (administrative districts), and (in Nei Mongol only) meng (leagues). There are about 2,800 third-level divisions: hsien (counties), municipalities, tzu-chih-hsien (autonomous counties), etc. The fourth-level divisions were formerly hsiang (villages) and chen (towns). In 1958, they were all replaced by communes.

China's government uses adjustments to administrative divisions as a policy tool, and approximately 1% of the county-level units are changed each year.

Territorial extent: 

For the treatment of Hong Kong, Macau, and Taiwan, see the change history at the top of this page.

China claims the Paracel Islands and Spratly Islands in the South China Sea. These groups have been given FIPS 10-4 country codes of PF and PG, respectively. In the GENC standard, their codes are XP and XPR for Paracel Islands and XS and XSP for Spratly Islands.

China has long-standing border disputes with many of its Asian neighbors. In the Karakoram Range of the Himalayas, there is an area, mostly in Xinjiang Uygur but partly in Xizang, possessed by China but claimed by India. In Eastern India, most of Arunachal Pradesh state is claimed by China.

Jilin is blocked from access to the Sea of Japan by North Korea and Russia.

Fujian province includes islands to the middle of the Taiwan Strait, with some exceptions. Taiwan claims, and occupies, two island groups in what would otherwise be the territorial waters of the People's Republic. The main islands are Quemoy, near Xiamen, and Matsu, near Fuzhou.

Hebei province has an unusual sort of exclave. As the municipalities of Beijing and Tianjin grew, their borders met on the east and the west, leaving an undigested area in the middle. Sanhe and Zizhixian are towns in this exclave.

Shanghai municipality includes the island of Chongming Dao, north of the main channel of the Yangtze River.

The UN LOCODE page  for China lists locations in the country, some of them with their latitudes and longitudes, some with their ISO 3166-2 codes for their subdivisions. This information can be put together to approximate the territorial extent of subdivisions.

Origins of names: 

  1. Anhui: Chinese an: tranquil, hui: excellent; name derived from the first syllables of An-Ch'ing and Hweichow cities.
  2. Beijing: Chinese bei: north, jing: capital (i.e. northern capital).
  3. Fujian: Chinese fu: happiness, jian: establish (i.e. happy establishment).
  4. Gansu: Chinese gan: benevolent, su: respectful; name derived from the first syllables of Kan-chou and Su-chou districts.
  5. Guangdong: Chinese guang: wide, dong: east; province was formed long ago as the eastern part of an area known as Kwang-nan Hsi-lu ("Wide south, western route").
  6. Guangxi: Chinese guang: immense, xi: west (western part of Kwang-nan Hsi-lu).
  7. Guizhou: Chinese gui: precious, zhou: region.
  8. Hainan: Chinese hai: sea, nan: south (island in the South China Sea).
  9. Hebei: Chinese he: river, bei: north (i.e. north of the Hwang Ho).
  10. Heilongjiang: Chinese hei: black, long: dragon, jiang: river; named for the river which forms its northern border.
  11. Henan: Chinese he: river, nan: south (south of the Hwang Ho).
  12. Hubei: Chinese hu: lake, bei: north (north of a chain of lakes along the Yangtze River).
  13. Hunan: Chinese hu: lake, nan: south (south of the same lakes).
  14. Jiangsu: Chinese jiang: river, su: bounty, or thyme, or relive; name derived from the first syllables of Chiang-ning and Su-chou prefectures.
  15. Jiangxi: Chinese jiang: river, xi: west (originally west of the Yangtze River).
  16. Jilin: Chinese ji: good luck, lin: forest; but the name derives from Manchu kirin ula: riverbank
  17. Liaoning: Chinese liao: distant, ning: peace; named for the Liao River.
  18. Nei Mongol: Inner Mongolia
  19. Ningxia: Chinese ning: peace; named for the Hsi Hsia, or Tangut, tribe, then at peace.
  20. Qinghai: Chinese qing: blue, hai: sea; named for a lake in its northeast. Both the lake and the province were formerly called Koko Nor.
  21. Shaanxi: west of the pass.
  22. Shandong: Chinese shan: mountains, dong: east (i.e. eastern mountains).
  23. Shanghai: on the sea.
  24. Shanxi: Chinese shan: mountains, xi: west (i.e. west of the mountains).
  25. Sichuan: four rivers (referring to four tributaries of the Yangtze River).
  26. Tianjin: Chinese tian: celestial, jin: ford; originally Tien-chin-wei: defense of the heavenly ford.
  27. Xinjiang: new frontier, new dominion.
  28. Xizang: Chinese xi: west, zang: storehouse.
  29. Yunnan: Chinese yun: clouds, nan: south; region is south of the Yun-ling Shan, or cloudy mountains.
  30. Zhejiang: From the province's main river, formerly named Che Chiang (crooked river).

Change history: 

The change history of Chinese subdivisions is somewhat confusing. It is best understood by separately examining each of the components of the Chinese empire, as of 1900: China, Manchuria, Mongolia, Sinkiang, and Tibet. The external borders of this region were roughly the same as present-day China and Mongolia combined.

China in 1900 consisted of eighteen provinces, the traditional heartland of the empire. There were several independent states in the southern mountains, completely surrounded by China: Lolos, Seng-Miaotse (two enclaves), and Choang Kolao (also two enclaves). Territories leased to other nations included Kwangchowan (French: Kouang-Tchéou-Wan, on modern Donghai Island and adjacent land on the Leizhou Peninsula), Macao (Portuguese: Macau), Hong Kong (British), Kiao-Chow (p:Jiaozhou) Bay (German: Tsing-tao [p:Qingdao]), Weihai (British: Wei-hai-wei, on the Shandong Peninsula), and Kwantung (p:Guandong, not to be confused with Kwangtung [p:Guangdong] province in South China) in Manchuria (Russian: Port Arthur). Japan had acquired Taiwan and the adjacent Penghu Islands in the Sino-Japanese War of 1895.

  1. 1914: Japan acquired the lease to Kiao-Chow Bay from Germany.
  2. 1922: Kiao-Chow Bay reverted to China.
  3. 1928: Nanking replaced Peking as capital of China. (Note: Nanking is from nan: south, jing: capital; Peking is from bei: north, jing: capital.) Peking renamed to Pei-p'ing (peace in the north). Its province renamed from Chihli to Hopeh.
  4. 1930-10-01: Wei-hai-wei restored to China by Great Britain.
  5. ~1938: Capital of Kiangsu moved from Nanking to Chinkiang (p:Zhenjiang).
  6. ~1939: Capital of Kwangsi moved from Kweilin (p:Guilin) to Nanning.
  7. 1945-08-18: Kwangchowan restored to China by France.
  8. 1949-04-23: As the Communists advanced, the Nationalist government retreated to a temporary capital at Chungking (p:Chongqing) in Szechuan.
  9. 1949: A set of regional administrative areas, listed in the following table, temporarily replaced provincial government under the Communist regime.
Central SouthHonan, Hunan, Hupeh, Kiangsi, Kwangsi, Kwangtung
East ChinaAnhwei, Chekiang, Fukien, Kiangsu, Shantung
Inner MongoliaNorthern Chahar, Suiyuan
North ChinaSouthern Chahar, Hopeh, Shansi
Northeast ChinaAntung, Heilungkiang, Jehol, Kirin, Liaohsi
Northwest ChinaKansu, Ningsia, Shensi, Sinkiang, Tsinghai
Southwest ChinaKweichow, Sikang, Szechuan, Yunnan
  1. 1949-10-01: Peking replaced Nanking as capital of China, re-assuming its former name.
  2. ~1950: Peking municipality split from Hopeh province; Shanghai municipality split from Kiangsu province.
  3. The Oxford Atlas of China says that China in 1950 consisted of six administrative macro-regions: Mid-South, East, North, Northeast, Northwest, and Southwest. These were subdivided into thirty provinces, twelve municipalities, one autonomous region, eight administrative prefectures, one territory, and one area. I conclude that the one autonomous region was Inner Mongolia. It's not clear what the Oxford Atlas meant by the "territory" and the "area"; possibly Tibet was counted as one or the other. The twelve municipalities were Anshan, Beijing, Benxi, Chongqing, Fushun, Guangzhou, Lüda, Shanghai, Shenyang, Tianjin, Wuhan, and Xi'an. Some of the thirty provinces were apparently created by the Communists as they displaced the Nationalist government in 1949.
  4. 1951: East Szechuan, North Szechuan, South Szechuan, and West Szechuan provinces merged to form Szechuan. North Anhwei and South Anhwei provinces merged to form Anhwei. North Kiangsu and South Kiangsu provinces merged to form Kiangsu. Chahar province split between Hopeh and Shansi. Pingyuan province split between Honan and Shantung.
  5. 1952: Capital of Kiangsu moved from Chinkiang back to Nanking.
  6. 1953: Changchun municipality split from Kirin province; Harbin municipality split from Heilungkiang province.
  7. 1954: The administrative areas were abolished and provincial government resumed.
  8. 1954: Liaodong and Liaoxi provinces and Anshan, Benxi, Fushun, Lüda, and Shenyang municipalities merged to form Liaoning province. Songjiang province and Harbin municipality merged with Heilongjiang. Capital of Henan province moved from Kaifeng to Zhengzhou. Changchun, Chongqing, Guangzhou, Wuhan, and Xi'an municipalities merged with their surrounding provinces: Jilin, Szechuan, Guangdong, Hubei, and Shaanxi respectively.
  9. 1955: Rehe province split between Hebei, Liaoning, and Nei Mongol. Xikang province merged with Szechuan.
  10. ~1955: Capital of Honan renamed from K'ai-feng to Cheng-chou (p:Zhengzhou).
  11. 1957-06: Guangxi province became Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region.
  12. ~1958: Capital of Anhwei moved from Anking (p:Anqing) to Hefei.
  13. 1958: Tientsin municipality merged with Hopeh province. Capital of Hopeh moved from Paoting (p:Baoding) to Tientsin.
  14. 1958: Kwangsi changed from province to autonomous region.
  15. 1967: Capital of Hopeh moved from Tientsin to Shih-chia-chuang (p:Shijiazhuang). Tientsin became a provincial-level municipality.
  16. ~1970: Triangle of land around Beihai transferred from Guangdong province to Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region, giving the latter a seacoast.
  17. 1988-04: Hainan province split from Guangdong province.
  18. 1997-03-14: Chongqing municipality split from Sichuan province.
  19. 1997-07-01: Hong Kong became a special autonomous region of China, on the expiration of Great Britain's lease. Hong Kong is still treated as a separate "country" by the standards.
  20. 1999-12-20: Macau became a special autonomous region of China, on the expiration of Portugal's lease. Macau is still treated as a separate "country" by the standards.

Manchuria in 1900 had three provinces: Heilungkiang, Kilin, and Shengching. Their respective capitals were Tsitsihar (p:Qiqihar), Kirin (p:Jilin), and Mukden (now named p:Shenyang). Russian armed forces occupied Manchuria during the course of 1900. After Japan won the Russo-Japanese war in 1905, the Russian forces withdrew and were supplanted by Japanese. Japan also acquired the lease to Kwantung. By 1925, Japan's military occupation was confined to Kwantung. On 1931-09-18, two bombings in Mukden gave the Japanese a pretext to invade Manchuria. On 1932-03-09, the nominally independent country of Manchukuo was declared. In actuality, it was a Japanese puppet state. Its capital was Hsinking (p:Changchun). Japan extended its control, enlarging Manchukuo with territory seized from Inner Mongolia (the Chearim area) and China (the northern part of Chihli province, which became Jehol province of Manchuria). At the end of World War II, Manchuria reverted de facto to Chinese sovereignty. The de jure restoration was completed about 1951. Since then, the Chinese have called the region the Northeast, rather than Manchuria. It now consists of three provinces which roughly match the ones in 1900, with Liaoning corresponding to Shengching.

  1. 1903: Name of Shengching province changed to Feng-t'ien.
  2. 1905: Japan won the Kwantung lease from Russia in the Russo-Japanese War.
  3. 1928: Name of Feng-t'ien province changed to Liao-ning, with altered boundaries.
  4. 1931-09-18: Japan occupied Manchuria.
  5. 1932-03-09: Creation of Manchukuo announced.
  6. 1933: Jehol province created as a buffer state between Manchukuo and China. Its capital was Jehol (p:Chengde).
  7. 1945-09-02: Japan surrendered, ending World War II. Manchuria, Taiwan, and the Penghu Islands were restored de facto to China. The Soviet Union took possession of Kwantung.
  8. 1947: During the period between 1947 and 1955-08, Manchuria split into as many as eleven provinces. Jehol and Cherim provinces, in the west, were historically part of Inner Mongolia, but had been annexed to Manchukuo during the war. In place of the prewar Heilungkiang, there were now the provinces of Heilungkiang, Hsingan, and northern parts of Nunkiang, Sungkiang, and Hokiang. Prewar Kirin corresponded to the southern parts of those three provinces, plus Kirin. Prewar Liaoning was divided into Liaohsi (west), Liaoning, and Liaotung (east). Then it was resectioned into Liaoning, Antung (east), and Liaopeh (north), with much of Cherim province attached to Liaopeh. Finally, Hsingan and much of Jehol and Liaopeh became part of Inner Mongolia; Heilungkiang, Hokiang, Nunkiang, and Sungkiang became modern Heilungkiang; Kirin acquired parts of Antung and Liaopeh; another part of Jehol was annexed to Hopeh; and what was left became Liaoning.
  9. 1954: Capital of Kirin province moved from Kirin to Changchun.
  10. 1955: Kwantung territory returned to China by the Soviet Union.

Mongolia in 1900 included what is now Mongolia, most of Nei Mongol, and parts of Heilongjiang, Jirin, and Liaoning. It acquired independence from China by stages, losing Inner Mongolia and Tannu Tuva in the process. During this period, it was sometimes called Outer Mongolia, to help distinguish it from Inner Mongolia. For internal divisions, see Mongolia.

  1. 1912: Mongolia became autonomous.
  2. 1919: Mongolia reintegrated with China.
  3. 1921-03-13: Outer Mongolia declared independence from China. The Mongolian provinces of Ala-Shan (roughly equivalent to Ningsia), Ordos, Silin Gol, and Chearim remained part of China.
  4. ~1930: Ordos (south of the Hwang Ho) and Silin Gol merged to form Suiyuan province, with capital Kweisui (now named p:Hohhot).
  5. 1946-01-05: China recognized Mongolia's independence.
  6. 1947-05: Inner Mongolia autonomous region formed by the Communist regime from parts of Chahar and Heilungkiang provinces.
  7. 1954-02: A long strip of southern Mongolia was annexed by Inner Mongolia.
  8. 1954: Ningsia province merged with Kansu.
  9. 1954-06: Suiyuan province merged with Inner Mongolia autonomous region. Hohhot (also known as Hu-ho-hao-t'e, Huhehot, etc.) became capital of Inner Mongolia.
  10. 1956: Part of Kansu transferred to Inner Mongolia (northern part of former Ningsia province).
  11. 1958: Ningsia Hui autonomous region (southern part of former Ningsia province) split from Kansu province.
  12. 1969: Hu-lun-pei-erh-meng transferred from Nei Mongol to Heilongjiang.
  13. 1969: Ala-Shan East transferred from Nei Mongol to Ningsia Hui.
  14. ~1970: Part of Pa-yen-nao-erh-meng transferred from Nei Mongol to Kansu.

In 1900, Sinkiang had almost the same extent that it does now. Its northern part was called Sungaria or Jungaria. Its western part was called East Turkestan, or Chinese Turkestan.

  1. 1956: Sinkiang province became Sinkiang Uighur autonomous region.

In 1900, Tibet occupied approximately the territory of modern Xizang and Qinghai. Its relationship to China has fluctuated between subjugation and independence. Between 1912 and 1950, the scale tilted toward independence. In 1950-10, China invaded Tibet, and has remained sovereign there ever since. The status of Tibet's subdivisions has also been variable over the years. As a rule, the Tibetan region has comprised Tibet proper, in the west; Koko Nor, later called Tsinghai, in the northeast; and Kham, later called Sikang, in the southwest.

  1. 1914: "Inner Tibet" created as a buffer zone between Tibet itself ("Outer Tibet") and China, but its boundaries were never agreed on.
  2. 1928: Tsinghai became a province of China.
  3. 1950-10: Chinese troops occupied Tibet.
  4. 1951-05-23: Tibet and China signed an agreement formalizing the occupation.
  5. 1955-08: Sikang province (capital Yaan) merged into Sichuan province.
  6. 1965-09-09: Xizang became autonomous region.

Other names of subdivisions: 

  1. Anhui: An-hui (Wade-Giles); Ngan-houei (French); Ngan-hui (obsolete)
  2. Beijing: Pechino (Italian); Pei-ching (Wade-Giles); Pei-p'ing (obsolete); Pékin (French); Pekín (Spanish); Pequim (Portuguese); Пекин (Russian)
  3. Fujian: Foekien (Dutch); Fokien (German); Fou-kien (French); Fu-chien (Wade-Giles); Min Sheng (informal)
  4. Gansu: Kansoe (Dutch); Kan-sou (French); Kan-su (Wade-Giles)
  5. Guangdong: Kouang-tong, Kuan-tung (French); Kuangtung (Portuguese); Kuang-tung (Wade-Giles); Kwangtoeng (Dutch)
  6. Guangxi Zhuang: Guangxi (informal); Kouang-si (French); Kuang-hsi (Wade-Giles); Kuangsi (Portuguese); Kwangsi (Dutch, German); Kwangsi-Chuang (conventional)
  7. Guizhou: Kouei-tcheou (French); Kueichau (Portuguese); Kuei-chou (Wade-Giles); Kweitschou (German); Kweitsjou (Dutch)
  8. Hainan: Hai-nan (French, Wade-Giles)
  9. Hebei: Ho-pei (French, Wade-Giles); Hopei (Dutch, German, Portuguese)
  10. Heilongjiang: Heiloengkiang (Dutch); Hei-long-kiang (French); Hei-lung-chiang (Wade-Giles)
  11. Henan: Ho-nan (French, Wade-Giles)
  12. Hong Kong: Xianggang (Pinyin)
  13. Hubei: Hoepeh (Dutch); Hou-pei (French); Hu-pei (Wade-Giles); Hupei (German, Portuguese)
  14. Hunan: Hoenan (Dutch); Hou-nan (French); Hu-nan (Wade-Giles)
  15. Jiangsu: Chiang-su (Wade-Giles); Kiangsoe (Dutch); Kiang-sou (French)
  16. Jiangxi: Chiang-hsi (Wade-Giles); Kiang-si (French)
  17. Jilin: Chi-lin (Wade-Giles); Ki-lin (French)
  18. Liaoning: Fengtien (obsolete); Leao-ning (French); Liao-ning (Wade-Giles)
  19. Macao: Macau (ISO standard 3166-1, see change notes at top of pages), Aomen (Pinyin)
  20. Nei Mongol: Binnen-Mongolië (Dutch); Indre Mongolia (Norwegian); Innere Mongolei (German); Mongolia Interior (Spanish); Mongólia Interior (Portuguese); Mongolia Interna (Italian); Mongolie-Intérieure (French); Neimeng (variant); Nei-meng-ku (Wade-Giles); Nei Monggol (variant)
  21. Ningxia Hui: Ninchsia (German); Ning-hia (French); Ning-hsia (Wade-Giles); Ninghsia (German, Portuguese); Ningsia (informal-conventional)
  22. Qinghai: Ch'ing-hai (Wade-Giles); Chinghai (Portuguese); Tschinghai (German); Ts'ing-hai (French)
  23. Shaanxi: Chen-si (French); Schensi (German); Shen-hsi (Wade-Giles); Sjensi (Dutch)
  24. Shandong: Chan-tong (French); Schantung (German); Shan-tung (Wade-Giles); Sjantoeng (Dutch)
  25. Shanghai: Chang-haď (French); Schanghai (German); Sjanghai (Dutch); Xangai (Portuguese)
  26. Shanxi: Chan-si (French); Schansi, Shansi (German); Shan-hsi (Wade-Giles); Shansi (Portuguese); Sjensi (Dutch)
  27. Sichuan: Setchouan, Seu-tch'ouan, Sseu-tch'ouan (French); Setsuan (Portuguese); Sezuan, Szechuan, Szetschuan (German); Ssu-ch'uan (Wade-Giles); Szetsjwan (Dutch)
  28. Tianjin: T'ien-tsin (French)
  29. Xinjiang Uygur: Hsin-chiang (Wade-Giles); Sin-kiang (French); Sinkiang (informal-conventional); Sinkiang-Oeigoer (Dutch); Uigurische Autonome Region Xinjiang (German); Xinjiang (informal)
  30. Xizang: Hsi-tsang (Wade-Giles); Sitsang (German); Thibet (French-obsolete); Tibete (Portuguese)
  31. Yunnan: Junnan (Dutch); Jünnan, Yünnan (German); Yun-nan (French, Wade-Giles)
  32. Zhejiang: Che-chiang (Wade-Giles); Chekiang (German, Portuguese); Tchö-kiang (French); Tschekiang (German); Tsjekiang (Dutch)

Population history:

Beijing  2,768,1499,230,00010,870,00013,569,19419,612,368
Chahar 2,035,957     
Chongqing     30,512,76328,846,170
Guangxi Zhuang5,151,32713,385,21519,560,82236,420,00042,530,00043,854,53846,026,629
Hainan    6,420,0007,559,0358,671,518
Heilongjiang  11,897,30932,665,00034,770,00036,237,57638,312,224
Jehol  5,160,822    
Jilin  11,290,07322,560,00025,150,00026,802,19127,462,297
Liaoning  18,545,14735,721,00039,980,00041,824,41243,746,323
Manchuria 43,233,954     
Nei Mongol  6,100,10419,274,00021,110,00023,323,34724,706,321
Ningxia Hui 1,023,143 3,895,0004,660,0005,486,3936,301,350
Qinghai 1,196,0541,676,5343,895,0004,430,0004,822,9635,626,722
Shanghai  6,204,41711,859,00013,510,00016,407,73423,019,148
Sikang 968,1873,381,064    
Suiyuan 2,083,693     
Tianjin  2,693,8317,764,0008,830,0009,848,73112,938,224
Xinjiang Uygur 4,360,0204,873,60813,081,00015,370,00018,459,51121,813,334
Xizang  1,273,9691,892,0002,220,0002,616,3293,002,166


1898 and 1936 figures are estimates; the others are censuses (sometimes rounded).


  1. [1] "China 2010 Census Data Released ." China Data Center, University of Michigan (dated 2011-09-29, retrieved 2014-02-04). Has 2000 and 2010 censuses. There are a couple of obvious typos, so the data may not be perfectly accurate.
  2. [2] China Historical Geographical Information Systems Project : Draft Database Design and Geocoding System, by Lawrence W. Crissman (dated 2000-11-02, retrieved 2004-03-14).
  3. [3] China Data Online  website (retrieved 2004-01-20).
  4. [4] Il Leonardo: Almanacco di Educazione Popolare. Ente Nazionale Biblioteche Popolari e Scolastiche, Roma, 1968.
  5. [5] Federal Register, September 2, 2008 (Volume 73, Number 170), page 51276
  6. [6] Travel China Guide
  7. [7] Australia Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. Retrieved 2021-11-20
  8. [8] Newsletter I-2, dated 2002-05-21
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