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District (PRC)

District (PRC)

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Encyclopedia
The term district, in the context of the People's Republic of China
People's Republic of China
China , officially the People's Republic of China , is the most populous country in the world, with over 1.3 billion citizens. Located in East Asia, the country covers approximately 9.6 million square kilometres...

refers to several unrelated political divisions in both ancient and modern China
China
Chinese civilization may refer to:* China for more general discussion of the country.* Chinese culture* Greater China, the transnational community of ethnic Chinese.* History of China* Sinosphere, the area historically affected by Chinese culture...

.

In the modern context, districts (区 qū) refer to two types of divisions in the People's Republic of China
People's Republic of China
China , officially the People's Republic of China , is the most populous country in the world, with over 1.3 billion citizens. Located in East Asia, the country covers approximately 9.6 million square kilometres...

: city districts and the soon-to-be-phased-out county districts (also known as district public offices).

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.

City districts


As a county-level division, a city district (市辖区, pinyin
Pinyin
Pinyin is the official system to transcribe Chinese characters into the Roman alphabet in China, Malaysia, Singapore and Taiwan. It is also often used to teach Mandarin Chinese and spell Chinese names in foreign publications and used as an input method to enter Chinese characters into...

: shìxiáqū, lit. a city-governed district; also translated as a city-controlled district or a sub-city) is a subdivision of a municipality or a prefecture-level city
Prefecture-level city
A prefectural level city , prefectural city or prefectural level municipality is an administrative division of the People's Republic of China, ranking below a province and above a county in China's administrative structure. Prefectural level cities form the second level of the administrative...

.

Before the 1980s, cities in the People's Republic of China
People's Republic of China
China , officially the People's Republic of China , is the most populous country in the world, with over 1.3 billion citizens. Located in East Asia, the country covers approximately 9.6 million square kilometres...

 were administrative divisions containing mostly urban, built-up areas, with very little farmland, except for the immediate suburb
Suburb
The word suburb mostly refers to a residential area, either existing as part of a city or as a separate residential community within commuting distance of a city . Some suburbs have a degree of administrative autonomy, and most have lower population density than inner city neighborhoods...

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, prefecture
Prefecture (China)
The term Prefectures, or the more formal prefectural level divisions, in the context of China, is used to refer to several unrelated political divisions in both ancient and modern China. Other than provincial level divisions, prefectural level divisions are not mentioned in the Chinese constitution...

s 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
County
A county is a jurisdiction of local government in certain modern nations. Historically in mainland Europe, the original French term, comté, and its equivalents in other languages denoted a jurisdiction under the sovereignty of a count A county is a jurisdiction of local government in certain...

, 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 just urban entities — some districts today are just like counties, with town
Town
A town is a human settlement larger than a village but smaller than a city. The size a settlement must be in order to be called a "town" varies considerably in different parts of the world, so that, for example, many American "small towns" seem to British people to be no more than villages, while...

s and townships
Townships of the People's Republic of China
Townships formally township level divisions is the basic level of political divisions in China. They are similar to municipalities and communes in other countries and in turn may contain village committees and villages...

 under them governing rural areas.

Ethnic districts


A type of city districts that are specially created for ethnic minorities
Ethnic minorities in China
Ethnic minorities in China are the non-Han Chinese population in the People's Republic of China. The People's Republic of China officially recognizes 55 ethnic minority groups within China in addition to the Han majority. As of 2010, the combined population of officially recognised minority...

. Currently there are 4 ethnic districts three in Henan and one in Heilongjiang.

County-controlled districts



A county-controlled district(县辖区、县管区; or translated as a county-governed district; county district or sub-county) is a sub-county, as a branch of the county government, the district public office(区公所) is the administrative office in a district. a county-controlled district was once an important subdivision of a county
County
A county is a jurisdiction of local government in certain modern nations. Historically in mainland Europe, the original French term, comté, and its equivalents in other languages denoted a jurisdiction under the sovereignty of a count A county is a jurisdiction of local government in certain...

 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 were taken over by larger town
Town
A town is a human settlement larger than a village but smaller than a city. The size a settlement must be in order to be called a "town" varies considerably in different parts of the world, so that, for example, many American "small towns" seem to British people to be no more than villages, while...

s or townships
Townships of the People's Republic of China
Townships formally township level divisions is the basic level of political divisions in China. They are similar to municipalities and communes in other countries and in turn may contain village committees and villages...

 created by merging smaller ones.

At the end of 2005, there are just 11 district public offices left in China, with 1 in Hebei
Hebei
' is a province of the People's Republic of China in the North China region. Its one-character abbreviation is "" , named after Ji Province, a Han Dynasty province that included what is now southern Hebei...

 and 10 in Xinjiang
Xinjiang
Xinjiang is an autonomous region of the People's Republic of China. It is the largest Chinese administrative division and spans over 1.6 million km2...

.

Ancient sense



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 language
English language
English is a West Germanic language that arose in the Anglo-Saxon kingdoms of England and spread into what was to become south-east Scotland under the influence of the Anglian medieval kingdom of Northumbria...

terms. In the context of ancient history, "district" and "prefecture" are commonly used, while "county" is used for more contemporary contexts.