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The term ''district'', in the context of
China China (), officially the People's Republic of China (PRC; ), is a country in . It is the world's , with a of more than 1.4 billion. China spans five geographical and 14 different countries, the in the world after . Covering an area of ap ...

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 A municipality is usually a single administrative division Administrative division, administrative unitArticle 3(1). , country subdivision, administrative region, subnational entity, first-level subdivision, as well as many similar terms, ...
or a
prefecture-level city A prefectural-level municipality (), prefectural-level city or prefectural city is an administrative division of the People's Republic of China China (), officially the People's Republic of China (PRC; ), is a country in East Asia. It ...
. 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 A sub-provincial division () in China China, officially the People's Republic of China (PRC), is a country in East Asia. It is the List of countries and dependencies by population, world's most populous country, with a population of around 1 ...
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 The earliest known written records of the history of China date from as early as 1250 BC, from the Shang dynasty The Shang dynasty (), also historically known as the Yin dynasty (), was a Chinese dynasty that ruled in the middle and ...

Chinese history
, then it is a translation for ''
xian Xi'an ( , ; ; Chinese: ), sometimes romanized as Sian, is the capital Capital most commonly refers to: * Capital letter Letter case (or just case) is the distinction between the letters that are in larger uppercase or capitals ( ...
'', another type of administrative division in China. Before the 1980s, cities in
China China (), officially the People's Republic of China (PRC; ), is a country in . It is the world's , with a of more than 1.4 billion. China spans five geographical and 14 different countries, the in the world after . Covering an area of ap ...

China
were administrative divisions containing mostly urban, built-up areas, with very little farmland, except for the immediate
suburb A suburb (or suburban area or suburbia) is a , or . It can exist either as part of a city/urban area and can often have a large degree of employment. In some metropolitan areas they exist as separate residential communities within distan ...
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 A prefecture (from the Latin ''Praefectura'') is an administrative jurisdiction traditionally governed by an appointed prefect. This can be a regional or local government subdivision in various countries, or a subdivision in certain international ...
began to be replaced with
prefecture-level cities A road sign shows distance to the "Huangshi urban area" () rather than simply " Yangxin County from the neighboring Xianning), but still from the Huangshi main urban area. A prefectural-level municipality (), prefectural-level city or prefectu ...
. 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 A county is a geographical region of a country used for administrative or other purposes Chambers Dictionary, L. Brookes (ed.), 2005, Chambers Harrap Publishers Ltd, Edinburgh in certain modern nations. The term is derived from the Old French ...
, autonomous counties, and
county-level cities A county-level municipality (), county-level city or county city, formerly known as prefecture-controlled city (1949–1970: ; 1970–1983: ), is a county-level administrative division of the People's Republic of China China, ...
. At the same time,
counties A county is a geographical region of a country used for administrative or other purposes Chambers Dictionary, L. Brookes (ed.), 2005, Chambers Harrap Publishers Ltd, Edinburgh in certain modern nations. The term is derived from the Old French ...

counties
and
county-level cities A county-level municipality (), county-level city or county city, formerly known as prefecture-controlled city (1949–1970: ; 1970–1983: ), is a county-level administrative division of the People's Republic of China China, ...
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 A town is a human settlement In geography Geography (from Greek: , ''geographia'', literally "earth description") is a field of science devoted to the study of the lands, features, inhabitants, and phenomena of the Earth an ...

town
s and
townships ''Township'' refers to various kinds of settlements or administrative subdivisions in different countries. While a ''township'' may be associated with an urban area, this tends to be an exception to the rule. In Australia, Canada, Scotland and pa ...
under them governing rural areas.


Types of districts


Regular districts

A regular district under a
municipality A municipality is usually a single administrative division Administrative division, administrative unitArticle 3(1). , country subdivision, administrative region, subnational entity, first-level subdivision, as well as many similar terms, ...
or
prefecture-level city A prefectural-level municipality (), prefectural-level city or prefectural city is an administrative division of the People's Republic of China China (), officially the People's Republic of China (PRC; ), is a country in East Asia. It ...
.


Ethnic districts

A type of city districts that are specially created for
ethnic minorities A minority group, by its original definition, refers to a group of people whose practices, race, religion, ethnicity, or other characteristics are lesser in numbers than the main groups of those classifications. However, in present-day sociology, ...
. Currently there are 5 such "ethnic districts": three in
Henan Henan (; ; alternatively Honan) is a landlocked Provinces of China, province of China, in the Central China, central part of the country. Henan is often referred to as Zhongyuan or Zhongzhou (), which literally means "central plain" or "midlan ...

Henan
, one in
Heilongjiang Heilongjiang, formerly romanized as Heilungkiang, is a province A province is almost always an administrative division within a country or state. The term derives from the ancient Roman '' provincia'', which was the major territorial and a ...

Heilongjiang
and one in
Inner Mongolia Inner Mongolia, officially the Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region, is a landlocked of the . Its border includes most of the length of China's with the country of . Inner Mongolia also accounts for a small section of China's with (). Its capit ...

Inner Mongolia
. *
Chanhe Hui District Chanhe Hui District () is a district of the city of Luoyang, Henan Henan (; Chinese postal romanization, alternatively Honan) is a landlocked Provinces of China, province of China, in the Central China, central part of the country. Henan is ...
*
Guancheng Hui District Guancheng Hui District (; Xiao'erjing: ) is one of 6 District (China), urban districts of the prefecture-level city of Zhengzhou, the capital of Henan, Henan Province, China. The District government is located in this district. The ruins of a Shan ...
*
Shunhe Hui District Shunhe Hui Chinese, Hui District () is a district of the city of Kaifeng, Henan province, China. Administrative divisions As 2012, this district is divided to 6 subdistricts and 2 towns. ;Subdistricts ;Towns *Dongjiao Township () *Tubaigang Townsh ...
*
Meilisi Daur District Meilisi Daur District () is an outlying district of the city of Qiqihar, Heilongjiang Heilongjiang (; formerly romanized as Heilungkiang) is a province A province is almost always an administrative division within a country or state. The ...
*
Huimin District Huimin District ( Mongolian: ; ) is one of four districts of the prefecture-level city Image:Yangxin-renmin-huanyin-ni-0022.jpg, A road sign shows distance to the "Huangshi urban area" () rather than simply "Huangshi" (). This is a useful dist ...
(the term ''Huimin'' refers to
Hui people The Hui people ( zh, c=, p=Huízú, w=Hui2-tsu2, Xiao'erjing: , dng, Хуэйзў, ) are an East Asian ethnoreligious group which is predominantly composed of Islam in China, Chinese-speaking adherents of Islam who are distributed throughout ...
)


Special districts

A special county-level division located in
Guizhou Guizhou (; alternately Kweichow) is a landlocked province A province is almost always an administrative division Administrative division, administrative unitArticle 3(1). , country subdivision, administrative region, subnational enti ...

Guizhou
. *
Liuzhi Special District Liuzhi Special District () is a district of Guizhou Guizhou (; alternately Kweichow) is a landlocked province A province is almost always an administrative division Administrative division, administrative unitArticle 3(1). , country ...
, Liupanshui


Forestry districts

A special Sub-prefectural-level forestry district located in
Hubei Hubei (; ; alternately Hupeh) is a landlocked province A province is almost always an administrative division Administrative division, administrative unitArticle 3(1). , country subdivision, administrative region, subnational entity ...

Hubei
. *
Shennongjia Shennongjia Forestry District () is a County (People's Republic of China), county-level administrative unit (a "forestry district") in northwestern Hubei province, People's Republic of China, directly subordinated to the provincial government. It oc ...


Ten 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 Local government is a generic term for the lowest tiers of public administration Public administration is the implementation of government policy Public policy is a course of action created and/or enacted, typically by a government ...
. A county-controlled district was once an important subdivision of a
county A county is a geographical region of a country used for administrative or other purposesChambers Dictionary The ''Chambers Dictionary'' (''TCD'') was first published by William Chambers (publisher), William and Robert Chambers (publisher bo ...
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 A town is a human settlement In geography Geography (from Greek: , ''geographia'', literally "earth description") is a field of science devoted to the study of the lands, features, inhabitants, and phenomena of the Earth an ...

town
s or
townships ''Township'' refers to various kinds of settlements or administrative subdivisions in different countries. While a ''township'' may be associated with an urban area, this tends to be an exception to the rule. In Australia, Canada, Scotland and pa ...
created by merging smaller ones. At the end of 2014, there is just 1 county-controlled district left in China: * Nanshan District (Zhuolu County, Zhangjiakou, Hebei) See
Administrative divisions of China Due to China's large Demographics of China, population and geographical area, the administrative divisions of China have consisted of several levels since History of the administrative divisions of China, ancient era. The constitution of Chin ...
for how these two types of districts fit into the general administrative hierarchy of mainland China.


Ancient sense

If the word "district" is encountered in the context of ancient
Chinese history The earliest known written records of the history of China date from as early as 1250 BC, from the Shang dynasty The Shang dynasty (), also historically known as the Yin dynasty (), was a Chinese dynasty that ruled in the middle and ...

Chinese history
, then the word is a translation for ''xian'', another type of administrative division in China. ''Xian'' has been translated using several
English English usually refers to: * English language English is a West Germanic languages, West Germanic language first spoken in History of Anglo-Saxon England, early medieval England, which has eventually become the World language, leading lan ...

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 Counties ( zh, t=縣, s=县, hp=Xiàn), formally county-level divisions, are found in the third level of the administrative hierarchy in Provinces A province is almost always an administrative division Administrative division, administr ...
for more information on the ''xian'' of China.


See also

*
List of districts in China This is a list of all counties (including Autonomous counties, Autonomous banners, and Banners) along with County-level cities () and District of the People's Republic of China, City districts (). List References

{{reflist Lists of administ ...
*
District A district is a type of administrative division that, in some countries, is managed by the local government. Across the world, areas known as "districts" vary greatly in size, spanning regions or County, counties, several Municipality, municipal ...

District
*
Gu (administrative division) A ''gu'', or district, is an Administrative divisions of South Korea, administrative unit in South Korea. There are two kinds of districts in South Korea. One is the autonomous district of special and metropolitan cities, which is a municipal ...
in
South Korea South Korea, officially the Republic of Korea (ROK), is a country in East Asia, constituting the southern part of the Korea, Korean Peninsula and sharing a Korean Demilitarized Zone, land border with North Korea. Its western border is for ...

South Korea
* Ku in
Japan Japan ( ja, 日本, or , and formally ) is an island country An island country or an island nation is a country A country is a distinct territory, territorial body or political entity. It is often referred to as the land of an in ...

Japan


References

{{reflist Administrative divisions of China