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Administrative divisions of the Republic of China: Map


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The Republic of China marker currently administers two historical provinces of China (one completely and a small part of another one) and centrally administers two direct-controlled municipalities:

Special considerations

Streamlined provinces

Since 1949, the most controversial part of the political division system of the ROC has been the existence of Taiwan Province, as its existence was part of a larger controversy over the political status of Taiwan. In the mid-1990s, the provincial governments of Taiwan and Fujian (to the extent of ROC administration) were essentially stripped of almost all of their authority (‘streamlined’), but they remain existing entities. This leaves the two centrally administered municipalities, five provincial municipalities, and eighteen counties as the principal divisions of the Republic of China.

Joint Service Centers

The central government operates three regional Joint Service Centers (區域聯合服務中心) outside Taipei as outposts of the government ministries in the Executive Yuanmarker, similar to the cross-departmental mode of working in the Government Offices in England. These regions, laid out the Comprehensive National Spatial Development Plan for Taiwan (臺灣地區國土綜合開發計劃), can be considered a de facto level of government, perhaps equivalent to de jure provinces or similar to the English regions. There is one regional service center for each of the Southern Taiwan Region (with the center in Kaohsiung), the Central Taiwan Region (Taichung), and the Eastern Taiwan Region (Hualien). The Northern Taiwan Region is served by Taipei, the central government's administrative headquarters and de facto capital.


There has been some criticism of the current administrative scheme as being inefficient and inconducive to regional planning. In particular, most of the administrative cities are much smaller than the actual metropolitan areas, and there are no formal means for coordinating policy between an administrative city and its surrounding areas.

Before 2008, the likelihood of consolidation was low. Many of the cities had a political geography which were very different from their surrounding counties, making the prospect of consolidation highly politically charged. For example, while the Kuomintang argued that combining Taipei Citymarker, Taipei County, and Keelung City into a metropolitan Taipei region would allow for better regional planning, the Democratic Progressive Party argued that this is merely an excuse to eliminate the government of Taipei County, which it had at times controlled, by swamping it with votes from Taipei Citymarker and Keelung City, which tended to vote Kuomintang.

On 1 October 2007, per legislation newly coming into force, Taipei County was upgraded to become a quasi-municipality (“準直轄市”) on the same level as Kaohsiung City and Taipei City. It is allowed the organizational and budgetary framework of a de jure municipality, but is still formally styled as a county. The Taichung County and City are lobbying the central government for a similar status.

President Ma Ying-jeou of Kuomintang in his 2008 election campaign platform advocated for a rearrangement of three municipalities and 15 counties. Since his inauguration, his administration has started to prepare for this. The city and county of Taichung is to merge in 2010 and join Taipei and Kaohsiung as a directly-controlled municipality. The city–county pairs for Hsinchu, Chiayi, and Tainan are aiming to merge in 2011, with the city annexed into an expanded county in each case. In 2011, Kaohsiung county will also be annexed by the Kaohsiung Municipality. Taipei County will move from quasi-municipality to de jure status in 2009, and in 2014 merge with the cities of Taipei and Keelung to form a larger municipality. The whole project is scheduled to complete in 2014, two years after the end of Ma’s first presidential mandate.

Proposals for the following were approved by the Ministry of the Interior on 23 June 2009: promotion of Taipei County to become ‘New Taipei Municipality’ (新北市) awaiting further merger with Taipei Municipality and Keelung City, the merger of Kaohsiung Municipality and County, and the merger of the City and County to form a promoted Taichung Municipality. In the same meeting, the merger of the City and County of Tainan was referred to the Cabinet (Executive Yuan). This merger and promotion proposal was finally approved on 29 June 2009 to give the ‘Tainan-fu Municipality’ (臺南府市), evoking the Qing-eramarker name of the prefecture. Follow-up legislation to give substance to this approval is expected in due course. The original Ma plan for three municipalities turned out four in the event.

Approved ROC municipalities in 2010

Direct-controlled municipalities of the Republic of China
Division name Trad. Simp. Hanyu Pinyin Abbr. Population Area (km²) Map
Taipei Citymarker Táiběi Shì běi 2,622,933 9,650.24
Xinbei City / Hsinpei City
Xīnběi Shì xīn 3,849,492 2,052.5667
Taichung Citymarker Táizhōng Shì zhōng 2,629,323 2,214.8968
Kaohsiung Citymarker Gāoxióng Shì Gāo 2,769,072 2,946.2527
Tainan-Fu Citymarker Táinán-fǔ Shì nán 1,873,681 2,191.6531

Proposals for ROC municipalities and counties

Proposals Changes June 2009
Population - Combine
Current Area
(km²) - Combine
Map (before) Map (after)
2-A Hsinchu Citymarker + Hsinchu Countymarker = Hsinchu Countymarker
(新竹市 + 新竹縣 = 新竹縣)
915,012 1,531.6864
2-B Chiayi Citymarker + Chiayi County = Chiayi County
(嘉義市 + 嘉義縣 = 嘉義縣)
821,721 1,961.6956
2-C Taipei Citymarker + Xinbei City + Keelung Citymarker = Taipei Citymarker
(臺北市 + 新北市 + 基隆市 = 臺北市)
6,854,715 2,457.1244

Mainland China and Mongolia

Additionally, the ROC has not officially renounced its claims over mainland China and Mongolia. This results in a division of the mainland into 35 provinces, different from that of the current PRC system.

Structural hierarchy

The number at the end are the amount of entities as of 2004, in areas under the ROC control:
  • Municipality (2)
    • District (區; qū; cyu) (23)
      • Village (里; lǐ; li) (912)
        • Neighborhood (鄰; lín; lin) (17,988)
  • Province (2)
    • Provincial municipality (5)
      • District (26)
        • Village (831)
          • Neighborhood (17,091)
    • County (18)
      • County-administered city (32)
        • Village (里; lǐ; li)
          • Neighborhood
      • Township: 226 rural townships (鄉; xiāng; siang) and 61 urban townships (鎮; zhèn; jhen)
        • Village (村; cūn; cun)
          • Neighborhood

The number of neighborhood, the lowest administrative level, is 146,112 under 7,809 villages in the ROC. And, to tell distinct neighborhood is from ordinal number, not from distinctive name. In total, there are 338 secondary entities (rural and urban townships, districts (of both types of municipalities), and county-administered cities).

In the ROC administrative scheme, a number of cities and counties have the same name, however, which are independent administrations. Tainan City and Tainan County, for example, which are completely different administrations. Generally, the biggest administrative area of structural hierarchy is direct-controlled municipality, then provincial city, and the last county-controlled city. In mainland China, the situation as is in reverse.


The romanization used for ROC placenames is Wade-Giles, however consistently ignoring the punctuations (apostrophes and hyphens), except "Keelung" and "Quemoy", which are the more popular versions of romanization. "Chiayi" and "Yilan" are bastardized forms of the Wade-Giles version, "Chia-i" and "I-lan", respectively. After Tongyong Pinyin was adopted by the Chen Shuibian administration in 2002, most municipalities, provinces, and county-level entities retained Wade-Giles, with the aforementioned exceptions. Taipeimarker is, together with Taizhong the only municipalities that use Hanyu Pinyin as standard and most street signs in Taipei have been replaced with Hanyu Pinyin, except for the place name "Taipei," which has retained the Wade-Giles spelling. With the Kuomintang (KMT)'s legislative and presidential electoral victories in 2008, Tongyong Pinyin will be replaced by Hanyu Pinyin as the ROC government standard, and will be the only official romanization system, starting in 2009.


Romanization Chinese Tongyong Pinyin Hanyu Pinyin Wade-Giles POJ
Taipei Citymarker 臺北市, 台北市 Táiběi Táiběi T'ai2-pei3 Tâi-pak-chhī
Kaohsiung Citymarker 高雄市 Gaosyóng Gāoxióng Kao1-hsiung2 Ko-hiông-chhī


In Taiwan Province:
Romanization Chinese Tongyong Pinyin Hanyu Pinyin Wade-Giles POJ Capital Capital in Chinese
Changhua Countymarker 彰化縣 Jhanghuà Zhānghuà Chang1-hua4 Chiong-hòa-koān Changhua Citymarker 彰化市
Chiayi County 嘉義縣 Jiayì Jiāyì Chia1-i4 Ka-gī-koān Taibao Citymarker 太保市
Hsinchu Countymarker 新竹縣 Sinjhú Xīnzhú Hsin1-chu2 Zhubei Citymarker 竹北市
Hualien County 花蓮縣 Hualián Huālián Hua1-lien2 Hoa-liân-koān Hualien Citymarker 花蓮市
Kaohsiung County 高雄縣 Gaosyóng Gāoxióng Kao1-hsiung2 Fengshan City 鳳山市
Miaoli County 苗栗縣 Miáolì Miáolì Miao2-li4 Miaoli Citymarker 苗栗市
Nantou County 南投縣 Nántóu Nántóu Nan2-t'ou2 Nantou Citymarker 南投市
Penghu County (Pescadores) 澎湖縣 Pénghú Pénghú P'eng2-hu2 Magong Citymarker 馬公市
Pingtung County 屏東縣 Píngdong Píngdōng P'ing2-tung1 Pingtung Citymarker 屏東市
Taichung Countymarker 台中縣 Táijhong Táizhōng T'ai2-chung1 Fengyuan Citymarker 豐原市
Tainan County 台南縣 Táinán Táinán T'ai2-nan2 Xingying City 新營市
Taipei County 台北縣 Táiběi Táiběi T'ai2-pei3 Banqiao Citymarker 板橋市
Taitung Countymarker 台東縣 Táidong Táidōng T'ai2-tung1 Taitung Citymarker 台東市
Taoyuan County 桃園縣 Táoyuán Táoyuán T'ao2-yüan2 Taoyuan Citymarker 桃園市
Yilan County 宜蘭縣 Yílán Yílán I2-lan2 Gî-lân-koān Yilan Citymarker 宜蘭市
Yunlin Countymarker 雲林縣 Yúnlín Yúnlín Yün2-lin2 Douliu Citymarker 斗六市
In Fujian Province (Wade-Giles: Fuchien):
Romanization Chinese Tongyong Pinyin Hanyu Pinyin Wade-Giles Capital Capital in Chinese
Lienchiang County (Matsumarker) 連江縣 Liánjiang Liánjiāng Lien2-chiang1 Nangan Townshipmarker 南竿鄉
Kinmen Countymarker 金門縣 Jinmén Jīnmén Chin1-men2 Jincheng Township 金城鎮

Provincial municipalities

In Taiwan Province:
Romanization Chinese Tongyong Pinyin Hanyu Pinyin Wade-Giles
Chiayi Citymarker 嘉義市 Jiayì Jiāyì Chia1-i4
Hsinchu Citymarker 新竹市 Sinjhú Xīnzhú Hsin1-chu2
Keelung Citymarker 基隆市 Jilóng Jīlóng Chi1-lung2
Taichung Citymarker 台中市 Táijhong Táizhōng T'ai2-chung1
Tainan Citymarker 台南市 Táinán Táinán T'ai2-nan2

Claims over mainland China and Mongolia

Old map.
After its loss of mainland China to the Communist Party of China in the Chinese Civil War and its retreat to Taiwanmarker in 1949, the Kuomintang (KMT) continued to regard the Republic of China as the sole legitimate government of Chinamarker and hoped to recover the mainland one day. Although in 1991 President Lee Teng-hui stated that the ROC does not challenge the right of the Communist Party of China to rule in the mainland, the ROC has never formally (by means of the National Assembly) renounced sovereignty over mainland China (including Xinjiang and Tibet) and Greater Mongolia. Most observers feel that the ruling Democratic Progressive Party would much prefer to officially renounce such sovereignty. This ambiguous situation results in large part because a formal renouncement of sovereignty over mainland China could be taken as a declaration of Taiwan independence, which would be unpopular among some circles on Taiwan and could likely bring about military action by the People's Republic of Chinamarker.

Accordingly, the official first-order divisions of Republic of China remain the historical divisions of China immediately prior to the loss of mainland China by the KMT with Taipei and Kaohsiung elevated as central municipalities. These are: 35 provinces, 2 areas, 1 special administrative region, 14 centrally-administered (provincial-level) municipalities, 14 leagues, and 4 special banners. For second-order divisions, under provinces and special administrative regions, there are counties, province-controlled cities (56), bureaus (34) and management bureaus (7). Under provincial-level municipalities there are districts, and under leagues there are banners (127).

Maps of Chinamarker and the world published in Taiwan sometimes show provincial and national boundaries as they were in 1949, not matching the current administrative structure as decided by the Communist Party of China post-1949 and including outer Mongolia, northern Burmamarker, and Tannu Uriankhai (part of which is present-day Tuvamarker) as part of China (territories over which the PRC has renounced sovereignty). Recent moves by the DPP administration have been changing maps in school textbooks and official maps issued by the government to reflect the current divisions instituted by the PRC.

The current jurisdiction of the ROC is referred to as the "Free Area of the Republic of China" in the Constitution. In most ordinary legislation, the term "Taiwan Area" is used in place of the "Free Area", while Mainland China is referred to as the "Mainland Area". According to the Act Governing Relations Between Peoples of the Taiwan Area and the Mainland Area, originally promulgated in 1992 and last amended in 2004, the "Taiwan Area" refers to "Taiwan, Penghu, Kinmen, Matsu, and any other area under the effective control of the Government" and the "Mainland Area" refers to "the territory of the Republic of China outside the Taiwan Area."

Province-level divisions of China as claimed by the Republic of China
Name Chinese (T) pinyin Abbreviation Capital
Andong 安東 Āndōng 安 ān Tonghuamarker
Anhuimarker 安徽 Ānhuī 皖 wǎn Hefeimarker
Chaharmarker 察哈爾 Cháhā'ěr 察 chá Zhangjiakoumarker
Fujianmarker 福建 Fújiàn 閩 mǐn Fuzhoumarker
Gansumarker 甘肅 Gānsù 甘 gān or 隴 lǒng Lanzhoumarker
Guangdongmarker 廣東 Guǎngdōng 粵 yuè Guangzhoumarker
Guangxi 廣西 Guǎngxī 桂 guì Guilinmarker
Guizhoumarker 貴州 Guìzhōu 黔 qián or 貴 guì Guiyangmarker
Hebeimarker 河北 Héběi 冀 jì Qingyuan (Baodingmarker)
Heilongjiangmarker 黑龍江 Hēilóngjiāng 黑 hēi Bei'anmarker
Hejiang 合江 Héjiāng 合 hé Jiamusimarker
Henanmarker 河南 Hénán 豫 yù Kaifengmarker
Hubeimarker 湖北 Húběi 鄂 è Wuchangmarker
Hunanmarker 湖南 Húnán 湘 xiāng Changshamarker
Jiangsumarker 江蘇 Jiāngsū 蘇 sū Zhenjiangmarker
Jiangximarker 江西 Jiāngxī 贛 gàn Nanchangmarker
Jilinmarker 吉林 Jílín 吉 jí Jilinmarker
Liaobei 遼北 Liáoběi 洮 táo Liaoyuanmarker
Liaoningmarker 遼寧 Liáoníng 遼 liáo Shenyangmarker
Ningxia 寧夏 Níngxià 寧 níng Yinchuanmarker
Nenjiang 嫩江 Nènjiāng 嫩 nèn Qiqiharmarker
Qinghaimarker 青海 Qīnghǎi 青 qīng Xiningmarker
Rehe 熱河 Rèhé 熱 rè Chengdemarker
Shaanximarker 陝西 Shǎnxī 陝 shǎn or 秦 qín Xi'anmarker
Shandongmarker 山東 Shāndōng 魯 lǔ Jinanmarker
Shanximarker 山西 Shānxī 晉 jìn Taiyuanmarker
Sichuanmarker 四川 Sìchuān 川 chuān or 蜀 shǔ Chengdumarker
Songjiang 松江 Sōngjiāng 松 sōng Mudanjiangmarker
Suiyuan 綏遠 Suíyuǎn 綏 suí Guisui (Hohhotmarker)
Taiwan 臺灣 Táiwān 臺 tái Jhongsing Villagemarker¹
Xikang 西康 Xīkāng 康 kāng Kangdingmarker
Xing'an 興安 Xīng'ān 興 xīng Hailar (Hulunbuirmarker)
Xinjiang 新疆 Xīnjiāng 新 xīn or 疆 jiāng Dihua (Urumqimarker)
Yunnanmarker 雲南 Yúnnán 滇 diān or 雲 yún Kunmingmarker
Zhejiangmarker 浙江 Zhèjiāng 浙 zhè Hangzhoumarker
Special administrative region
Hainanmarker 海南 Hǎinán 瓊 qióng Haikoumarker
Regions (地方 Dìfāng)
Outer Mongolia 蒙古 Měnggǔ 蒙 měng Kulun (Ulaanbaatarmarker)
Tibet 西藏 Xīzàng 藏 zàng Lhasamarker
Beiping (Beijing) 北平 Běipíng 平 píng (Xicheng Districtmarker)
Chongqingmarker 重慶 Chóngqìng 渝 yú (Yuzhong District)
Dalian 大連 Dàlián 連 lián (Xigang District)
Guangzhoumarker 廣州 Guǎngzhōu 穗 suì (Yuexiu Districtmarker)
Hankou 漢口 Hànkǒu 漢 hàn (Jiang'an District)
Harbinmarker 哈爾濱 Hā'ěrbīn 哈 hā (Nangang District)
Kaohsiung Citymarker² 高雄 Gāoxióng 高 gāo (Lingya District)
Nanjingmarker 南京 Nánjīng 京 jīng (Xuanwu District)
Qingdaomarker 青島 Qīngdǎo 青 qīng (Shinan District)
Shanghai 上海 Shànghǎi 滬 hù (Huangpu District)
Shenyangmarker 瀋陽 Shěnyáng 瀋 shěn (Shenhe District)
Taichung Citymarker3 臺中 Táizhōng 中 zhōng (Xi District)
Taipei Citymarker² 臺北 Táiběi 北 běi (Xinyi Districtmarker)
Tainan-fu Citymarker3 臺南府 Táinán 南 nán (Anping District)
Tianjinmarker 天津 Tiānjīn 津 jīn (Heping Districtmarker)
Xi'anmarker 西安 Xī'ān 鎬 hào (Weiyang District)
Xinbei City / Hsinpei City
新北 Xīnběi 新 xīn (Banqiao Districtmarker)
  1. The capital of Taiwan Province was moved to Jhongsing Village from Taipei in the 1960s.
  2. Taipei Kaohsiung were elevated in 1967 and 1979, respectively, after the ROC government had moved to Taipei in 1949.
  3. Taichung, Tainan, and Xinbei / Hsinpei (New Taipei) will be elevated on 25 December 2010 since last reform.


  1. Wikinews (2009-06-29): 臺灣再添直轄市;
  3. References and details on data provided in the table can be found within the individual municipality articles.
  4. Wikinews (2009-06-29): 臺灣再添直轄市;
  5. National Institute for Compilation and Translation of the Republic of China (Taiwan): Geograpy Textbook for Junior High School Volume 1 (1993 version): Lesson 10: pages 47 to 49

See also

External links

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