The term ''district'', in the context of China
, is used to refer to several unrelated political divisions in both ancient and modern China.
In the modern context, district, ward, or sub-city (), formally city-governed district, city-controlled district, or municipal district (), are subdivisions of a municipality
or a prefecture-level city
. The rank of a district derives from the rank of its city. Districts of a municipality are prefecture-level
; districts of a sub-provincial city
are sub-prefecture-level; and districts of a prefecture-level city are county-level
It was also formerly used to refer to obsolete County-controlled
districts (also known as district public office).
However, if the word ''district'' is encountered in the context of ancient Chinese history
, then it is a translation for ''xian
'', another type of administrative division in China.
Before the 1980s, cities in China
were administrative divisions containing mostly urban, built-up areas, with very little farmland, except for the immediate suburb
s in order to ensure a large supply of food or raw materials. As a result, districts were also mostly urban or suburban in nature.
After the 1980s, prefectures
began to be replaced with prefecture-level cities
. From then on, "cities" in mainland China became just like any other administrative division, containing urban areas, towns, villages, and farmland. These cities are subdivided into districts, counties
, autonomous counties
, and county-level cities
. At the same time, counties
and county-level cities
began to be replaced with districts, especially after 1990. From then onwards, districts were no longer strictly urban entities — some districts today are just like counties, with large town
s and townships
under them governing rural areas.
Types of districts
A regular district under a municipality
or prefecture-level city
A type of city districts that are specially created for ethnic minorities
. Currently there are 5 such "ethnic districts": three in Henan
, one in Heilongjiang
and one in Inner Mongolia
*Chanhe Hui District
*Guancheng Hui District
*Shunhe Hui District
*Meilisi Daur District
(the term “Huimin” refers to Hui people
A special county-level division located in Guizhou
* Liuzhi Special District
A special Sub-prefectural-level forestry district located in Hubei
10 Most Populated districts
Number of districts per city
County-controlled districts (obsolete)
A county-controlled district sometimes translated as county-governed district; county district or sub-county; () is a sub-county in China. A branch of a county government, a district public office () is the administrative office in a district; it is not a local government
. A county-controlled district was once an important subdivision of a county
all over China from 1950s to 1990s. It was common for there to be about 5 to 10 districts in a county, then about 3 to 5 towns and townships in a district. After the 1990s, county-controlled districts began to be phased out, and their role was taken over by larger town
s or townships
created by merging smaller ones.
At the end of 2014, there is just 1 county-controlled district left in China:
(Zhuolu County, Zhangjiakou, Hebei)
See Administrative divisions of China
for how these two types of districts fit into the general administrative hierarchy of mainland China.
If the word "district" is encountered in the context of ancient Chinese history
, then the word is a translation for ''xian'', another type of administrative division in China.
''Xian'' has been translated using several English
terms. In the context of ancient history, "district" and "prefecture" are commonly used, while "county" is used for more contemporary contexts.
See Counties of China
for more information on the ''xian'' of China.
* List of districts in China
*Gu (administrative division)
in South Korea
Category:Administrative divisions of China