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Direct-controlled municipality is the highest level classificiation for cities used by Chinamarker, Koreamarker, Taiwanmarker and Vietnammarker with status equal to that of the provinces in the respective countries. The People's Republic of China marker in mainland China, the Republic of China marker in Taiwanmarker, the Democratic People's Republic of Koreamarker in North Korea, the Republic of Koreamarker in South Korea, and the Socialist Republic of Vietnammarker in Vietnam adopt this system with some variations.

South Korea official change the title of Directly-Governed Cities into Metropolitan Cities (Special City for Seoulmarker) in 1991.

Geographically and culturally, many of the municipalities are enclaves in the middle of provinces. Some occur in strategic positions in between provinces.

  • People's Republic of China
* Beijing, Tianjinmarker, Shanghai, and Chongqingmarker.
  • Korea
* DPRK (North Korea) - P'yŏngyangmarker.
* ROK (South Korea) - Seoulmarker, Busanmarker, Daegumarker, Incheonmarker, Gwangjumarker, Daejeonmarker, and Ulsanmarker.
  • Republic of China (Taiwan)
* Taipeimarker and Kaohsiungmarker.


China and Taiwan

History

The first municipalities were the 11 cities of Nanjingmarker, Shanghai, Beijing, Tianjinmarker, Qingdaomarker, Chongqingmarker, Xi'anmarker, Guangzhoumarker, Hankou (now part of Wuhanmarker), Shenyangmarker, and Harbinmarker when the ROC government ruled the China. They were established in 1927 soon after they were designated as "cities" during the 1920s. Nominally Dalian was a municipality as well, although it was under Japanese Occupation. These cities were first called special municipalities/cities ( )), but were later renamed Yuanmarker-controlled municipalities ( ), then direct-controlled municipalities ( ) by the Central Government.

After the Chinese Communist took over mainland China in 1949 and established the PRC, Anshanmarker, Benximarker, and Fushunmarker were made municipalities as well, while Qingdao, Dalian, and Harbin were reduced to provincial municipalities. Hankou was merged to Wuhanmarker. Hence there remained 12 municipalities in mainland China, until Dalian was elevated in 1950. In November 1952, Nanjing was reduced to a provincial municipality. In July 1953, Harbin was restored to municipality status, along with Changchunmarker. Except Beijing and Tianjin, which were under central control, all other municipalities were governed by the greater administrative areas.

In June 1954, 11 of the 14 municipalities were reduced to provincial municipalities; many of them became capitals of the provinces they were in. Only Beijing, Shanghai, and Tianjin were left, until Chongqing was restored in 1997 with a much enlarged area. Tianjin was also temporarily reverted to province-controlled status around the 1960s.

Two municipalities in Taiwan were created after the ROC government took control following World War II. Taipeimarker was made a Yuan-controlled municipality in 1967. The same was done for Kaohsiungmarker in 1979. Promotion of Taichungmarker and Tainanfrom the provincial city to the third and fourth municipality has been proposed and passed in 2009. Since 1994, Yuan-controlled municipalities have been officially called direct-control municipalities to emphasize their autonomy. Besides significant political, economic, and cultural development, the ROC law dictates that a municipality must have population of over 1,250,000.

List of defunct municipalities

Name Chinese (T) Chinese (S) Pinyin Postal map Region Present Annexation
Nanjingmarker Nánjīng Nanking East Jiangsumarker
Qingdaomarker Qīngdǎo Tsingtao East Shandongmarker
Xi'anmarker Xī'ān Sian Northwest Shaanximarker
Guangzhoumarker Guǎngzhōu Kwangchou (Canton) South Central Guangdongmarker
Hankou (Wuhanmarker) Hànkǒu Hankow South Central Hubeimarker
Shenyangmarker Shěnyáng Shenyang (Mukden) Northeast Liaoningmarker
Harbinmarker Hāěrbīn Harbin Northeast Heilongjiangmarker
Dalian Dàlián Dairen Northeast Liaoningmarker
Anshanmarker Ānshān Anshan Northeast Liaoningmarker
Benximarker Běnxī) Penhsi Northeast Liaoningmarker
Fushunmarker Fǔshùn Fushun Northeast Liaoningmarker


People's Republic of China

Position in hierarchy

Municipalities are the highest-ranked cities in the PRC. Some cities of lower levels may also refer to themselves as municipalities in the English language. Wikipedia's translation, however, refers to them using the following conventional terms:

Three levels of cities in the People's Republic of Chinamarker on Mainland China:

  1. Municipalities
  2. Prefecture-level cities
  3. County-level cities


Administration

In mainland Chinese municipalities, the highest ranking government official is the Mayor. The mayor is also a delegate in the National People's Congress (the legislature). and Deputy Secretary of the CPC Municipal Committee. However, the highest administrative authority in the municipality belongs to the Secretary of the CPC Municipal Committee or Party Secretary.

Current PRC municipalities

Map of direct-controlled municipalities divisions in the People's Republic of China


Direct-controlled municipalities of the People's Republic of China
Map # Division name Trad. Simp. Hanyu Pinyin Postal Abbr. ISO Region Population Density (/km²) Area (km²) Divisions
1 Beijing Běijīng Peking jīng CN-11 North 15,810,000 941 16,800 List
2 Tianjinmarker Tiānjīn Tientsin jīn CN-12 North 11,519,000 980 11,305 List
3 Chongqingmarker Chóngqìng Chungking CN-50 Southwest 31,442,300 382 82,300 List
4 Shanghai Shànghǎi Shanghai CN-31 East 18,450,000 2,622 6,341 List


Taiwan (Republic of China)

Position in hierarchy

Municipalities are the highest-ranked cities in Taiwan. Some cities of lower levels may also refer to themselves as municipalities in the English language. Wikipedia's translation, however, refers to them using the following conventional terms:

Three levels of cities in the Republic of Chinamarker on Taiwanmarker:

  1. Municipalities
  2. Provincial cities
  3. County-controlled cities


Administration

In Taiwanese municipalities, the Mayor is the highest ranking official in charge. The Mayor is directly elected by the people registered in the municipality for a duration of four years. e.g. Mayor of Taipei.

Current ROC municipalities

Direct-controlled municipalities of the Republic of China
Division name Trad. Simp. Hanyu Pinyin Abbr. Flag Seal Population Density (/km²) Area (km²) Divisions
Taipeimarker Táiběi běi 2,622,933 9,650.24 271 List
Kaohsiungmarker Gāoxióng Gāo 1,519,711 9,894.42 154 List


Approved ROC municipalities in 2010

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


Proposals for ROC municipalities

Proposals Changes June 2009
Population - Combine
Current Area
(km²) - Combine
Map (before) Map (after)
2-A Hsinchu Citymarker + Hsinchu Countymarker = Hsinchu Citymarker
(新竹市 + 新竹縣 = 新竹市)
915,012 1,531.6864
2-B Chiayi Citymarker + Chiayi County = Chiayi Citymarker
(嘉義市 + 嘉義縣 = 嘉義市)
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


Korea

Democratic People's Republic of Korea

Position in hierarchy

Map of Directly Governed Cities in North Korea
Directly Governed Cities are the highest-ranked cities in Nor Korea.

Three levels of cities in Nouth Korea:

  1. Directly Governed Cities
  2. Cities


Current North Korean Directly Governed Cities

Directly Governed Cities of North Koreamarker

Note: North Korea uses a variant of the McCune-Reischauer romanization.
Romanization Han'gŭl Hanja Year of Split Province split from
P'yŏngyang-chikhalsimarker* 평양 직할시 平壤直轄市 1946 S. P'yŏngan


List of defunct Directly Governed Cities of North Korea

Romanization Han'gŭl Hanja Administered Years Province absorb into
Ch'ŏngjinmarker 청진시 淸津市 1960-1967, 1977-1985 North Hamgyŏngmarker
Hamhŭngmarker 함흥시 咸興市 1960-1967 South Hamgyŏngmarker
Kaesŏngmarker 개성시 開城市 1951-1955 North Hwanghae
Namp'omarker 남포시 南浦市 1980-2004 South P'yŏng'an
Rasŏn marker 라선 (라진-선봉시) 羅先市 (羅津-先鋒市) 1993-2004 North Hamgyŏngmarker


Republic of Korea

Position in hierarchy

Special City and Metropolitan Cities are the highest-ranked cities in South Korea.

Three levels of cities in South Koreamarker:

  1. Special City
  2. Metropolitan Cities
  3. Cities


Administration

In South Korean special city and metropolitan cities, the Mayor is the highest ranking official in charge. The Mayor is directly elected by the people registered in the city for a duration of four years. e.g. Mayor of Seoul.

Current South Korean special city and metropolitan cities

Map of special city and metropolitan cities in South Korea
Special City and Metropolitan Cities of South Koreamarker

Note: South Korea uses the Revised Romanisation of Korean.
Romanization Hangul Hanja Year of Split Province split from
Seoul Teukbyeolsimarker 서울 특별시 See note below December, 1067 Yangju (then Namgyeong)
Busan Gwangyeoksimarker 부산 광역시 釜山廣域市 January 1, 1963 S.marker Gyeongsangmarker
Daegu Gwangyeoksimarker 대구 광역시 大邱廣域市 July 1, 1981 N.marker Gyeongsangmarker
Incheon Gwangyeoksimarker 인천 광역시 仁川廣域市 July 1, 1981 Gyeonggi
Gwangju Gwangyeoksimarker 광주 광역시 光州廣域市 November 1, 1986 S.marker Jeollamarker
Daejeon Gwangyeoksimarker 대전 광역시 大田廣域市 January 1, 1989 S.marker Chungcheongmarker
Ulsan Gwangyeoksimarker 울산 광역시 蔚山廣域市 July 15, 1997 S.marker Gyeongsangmarker


Notes
  • There is no hanja for "Seoul," but in Chinese, it is written by its Joseon Dynastymarker name Hanseongmarker (漢城). The new Chinese name, 首爾/首尔, is a transcription based on the pronunciation of "Seoul". As a suffix, the character gyeong (京) is used, which means "capital".
  • Seoul was designated a "Special Free City" (Teukbyeol Jayusi; 특별 자유시; 特別自由市) separate from Gyeonggi Province on August 15, 1946; it became a "Special City" on August 15, 1949.


Vietnam

Map of Centrally-governed cities in Vietnam

Position in hierarchy

Centrally-governed cities are the highest-ranked cities in Vietnam.

Three levels of cities in Vietnammarker:

  1. Centrally-governed cities
  2. Provincial cities
  3. Town


Current Vietnamese Centrally-governed cities

Centrally-governed cities
Romanization Hán Tự Region
Hà Nộimarker 河内 Hà Nội Kinh-Dong Bang Song Hong
Hồ Chí Minh Citymarker 胡志明市 Đông Nam Bộ
Cần Thơmarker 芹苴 Tây Nam Bo – Đồng Bằng Sông Cửu Long
Đà Nẵngmarker 岘港 Nam Trung Bộ
Hải Phòngmarker 海防 Hà Nội Kinh-Dong Bang Song Hong


References

  1. 中华人民共和国行政区划(1949年)
  2. 中华人民共和国行政区划(1952年)
  3. 中华人民共和国行政区划(1953年)
  4. Cabinet approves mergers, upgrades for counties, cities
  5. Tainan city, county win status as special municipality
  6. 4 new special municipalities to be created
  7. Chongqing Mayor: Government Must Place Service Above Anything Else
  8. References and details on data provided in the table can be found within the individual municipality articles.
  9. ISO 3166-2:CN (ISO 3166-2 codes for the provinces of China)
  10. Wikinews (2009-06-29): 臺灣再添直轄市; http://www.nownews.com/2009/06/29/11468-2471373.htm
  11. http://www.taipeitimes.com/News/front/archives/2009/06/25/2003447086



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