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Prefecture-level city

A prefecture-level city (地级市 Pinyin: dj sh, literally "region-level city") are cities governed directly by provincess of the People's Republic of China. As a city, it ranks lower than municipality, and ranks higher than county-class cities. The first ones were created on November 5, 1983. And most the rest 265 existing ones were made such in the remainder of the 1980s.


Most provinces are completely subdivided into prefecture-class cities, but some provinces -- Shanxi, Hunan, Jilin, Heilongjiang, Hubei, Sichuan, Guizhou, Yunnan, Gansu, Qinghai -- also have other prefecture-level entities (prefectures and autonomous prefectures).

Baoding (Hebei Province), Zhoukou (Henan), Nanyang (Henan), and Linyi (Shandong) are the largest prefecture-class cities, superseding the population of Tianjin.

A sub-prefecture-level city (副地級市), or vice-prefecture-level city, is in a transition state from a county-level city to a true prefecture-level city. They are not numerous; current ones include Chaozhou (Guangdong, since 1990) and Tianshui (Gansu, since 1984).

Sub-provincial cities are sometimes placed on the same tier as prefecture-level cities, or counted as such.

See also: Political divisions of China