When referring to political divisions of China
, town is the standard English translation of the Chinese (traditional: ; ). The Constitution of the People's Republic of China
currently classifies towns as third-level administrative units, along with townships () and ethnic minority townships (The State Council, 2014). A township is typically smaller in population and more remote than a town (''zhèn'').
left|In the central urban area of Longgang Town (), a typical town of Yangxin County
Similarly to a higher-level administrative units, the borders of a town (''zhen'') would typically include an urban core (what one would call a "town" in Europe or America - a small town with the population on the order of 10,000 people), as well as rural area with some villages
(, or ).
Towns in China are relatively small in size and in population compared to cities, but those with particular characteristics can enjoy great popularity among tourists. For example, the ancient town of Fenghuang
attracts young backpackers every year for its minority ethnic culture and architecture.
A typical provincial map would merely show a ''zhen'' with a circle centered at its urban area and labeled with its name, while a more detailed one (e.g., the map of Xianning
prefecture-level city at its official web site) would also show the borders dividing the county
or county-level city
into town () and/or township () units.
The town (''zhen'') in which the county government (and the county's main urban area) is located is often "invisible" on less-detailed maps, because its circle is usually labeled with the name of the county rather than the name of the actual ''zhen'' into which this urban area falls. For example, the county government of Tongshan County, Hubei
is located in Tongyang Town (), but the maps would normally show it with a circle labeled "Tongshan County" () or simply "Tongshan" (). Road signs would also normally show distance to "Tongshan" rather than "Tongyang".
On the other hand, more detailed maps - e.g., maps of individual prefecture-level cities in a provincial atlas - would label the county seat location with both the name of the county (e.g., ) and, below, and in a smaller font, with the name of the township (e.g., ).
[Compare e.g. the provincial map and individual prefectures' maps in the Road Atlas of Hubei (; published by ''SinoMaps Press'', 2007, ), or in any other comparable atlas.]
Intercity buses, trains, or riverboats destined to, or stopping at a county seat may designate its destination either by the name of the county or the name of the county-seat township.
Usage of ''zhen'' in Taiwan
In contrast to the PRC, in the official translation adopted in the ROC
, both the characters "" () and "" () are translated as "townships", with specifically being "urban" township, 'with specifically translated as "rural" township
Category:Township-level divisions of China
Category:Populated places in China