Administrative divisions of Taiwan

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Administrative divisions
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Republic of China (1912–49)
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The administrative divisions of Republic of China consist of provinces[1] and special municipalities. The provinces are "streamlined", with very little direct function, each province is however subdivided into provincial cities and counties. There are 6 special municipalities (Kaohsiung, New Taipei, Taichung, Tainan, Taipei and Taoyuan), 3 provincial cities (Chiayi, Hsinchu and Keelung) and 13 counties.

History[edit]

Territory[edit]

In 1945, after the World War II, the Republic of China acquired Taiwan (Formosa) and Penghu (the Pescadores) from the Empire of Japan. In 1949, the government of the Republic of China led by Kuomintang lost the Chinese Civil War and retreated to Taipei, Taiwan. The government lost almost its jurisdiction over mainland China, only some offshore islands remained, this history gives two different sources of the current Taiwanese administrative divisions on the Free area of the Republic of China or Taiwan Area.

Changes to divisions[edit]

Since 1949, the government has made some changes in the area under its control, the two provincial governments were streamlined and much of their functions transferred to the central or county governments. Six special municipalities have been created on the territory belonged to Taiwan Province.

Since 1949, the most controversial part of the political division system has been the existence of Taiwan Province, as its existence was part of a larger controversy over the political status of Taiwan, since 1998, most of the duties and powers of Taiwan Provincial Government have been transferred to the central government, through amendments to the constitution. The much smaller Fukien province, Fujian Provincial Government has been in streamlined form since 1956.

There has been some criticism of the current administrative scheme as being inefficient and not conducive to regional planning; in particular, most of the administrative cities are much smaller than the actual metropolitan areas, and there are no formal means for coordinating policy between an administrative city and its surrounding areas.

Before 2008, the likelihood of consolidation was low. Many of the cities had political demographics which were very different from their surrounding counties, making the prospect of consolidation highly politically charged, for example, while the Kuomintang argued that combining Taipei City, Taipei County, and Keelung City into a metropolitan Taipei region would allow for better regional planning, the Democratic Progressive Party argued that this was merely an excuse to eliminate the government of Taipei County, which it had at times controlled, by swamping it with votes from Taipei City and Keelung City, which tended to vote Kuomintang.

On 1 October 2007, Taipei County was upgraded to a quasi-municipality (準直轄市) on the same level as Kaohsiung City and Taipei City,[2] this allowed the county to have the organizational and budgetary framework of a de jure municipality, but it was still formally styled as a county. Taichung County and Tainan City lobbied the central government for similar status. Taoyuan County was also upgraded to a quasi-municipality on 1 January 2011, as its population was above 2 million on the date of elevation.[3]

Under President Ma Ying-jeou's administration, the central government has reorganized more counties and cities.[4] Four mergers and promotions were approved in 2009 and became effective on 25 December 2010 and one more became effective in 25 December 2014.[5][6]

The summary of changes on administrative divisions are shown below

Name Notes
Fujian Province The provincial capital was moved from Fuzhou to Jincheng, Kinmen in 1949. Government was streamlined in 1956.
Taiwan Province The provincial capital was moved from Taipei to Zhongxing New Village in 1956. Government was streamlined in 1998.
Kaohsiung City Formerly a provincial city, elevated as a special municipality in 1979. In 2010, a new Kaohsiung special municipality was established by merging former Kaohsiung County with the existing Kaohsiung City.
New Taipei City Formerly Taipei County, was elevated as a special municipality in 2010.
Taichung City Was established by merging Taichung provincial city and Taichung County in 2010.
Tainan City Was established by merging Tainan provincial city and Tainan County in 2010.
Taipei City Formerly a provincial city, was elevated as a special municipality in 1967.
Taoyuan City Formerly Taoyuan County, was elevated as a special municipality in 2014.

This brought the top-level divisions of Taiwan (ROC) to its current state: 2 streamlined provinces and 6 special municipalities; and under the provinces, 13 counties and three provincial cities.[7]

Administrative divisions[edit]

Structural hierarchy[edit]

Level 1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th
Division
type
Special municipality
(直轄市 zhíxiáshì) (6)
Mountain indigenous district
(原住民區 yuánzhùmín qū) (6)
Urban village
( lǐ)
Neighborhood
( lín)
District
( qū) (164)
Province
( shěng) (2)
(Streamlined)
Provincial city
( shì) (3)
County
( xiàn) (13)
County-controlled city
(縣轄市 xiànxiáshì) (14)
Urban township
( zhèn) (38)
Rural township
( xiāng) (122)
Rural village
(村 cūn)
Mountain indigenous township
(山地鄉 shāndì xiāng) (24)
Total 22 368 7,851 147,785
Note:
  1. Since the provinces are streamlined, special municipalities are usually counted with provincial cities and counties.
  2. In Chinese, all special municipalities, provincial cities, and county-controlled cities are all referred to as 市 (shì) in their full official names.
  3. Provincial cities are sometimes called 省轄市 (shěngxiáshì) to distinguish them from the other two types of cities.

Under the administrative scheme, some cities and counties may share the same name but are independent administrations; this occurs with Chiayi City and Chiayi County, and Hsinchu City and Hsinchu County.

Special municipalities, cities and counties[edit]

Currently there are three types and in total 22 administrative divisions are directly governed by the central government (Executive Yuan). According to the Local Government Act of Taiwan, a place with population more than 1.25 million may become a special municipality, a place with population between 0.5 and 1.25 million may become a provincial city. Counties with population more than 2 million may grant some extra privileges in local autonomy that was designed for special municipalities.

Name Chinese Pinyin Pe̍h-ōe-jī No.
    Special municipality 直轄市 zhíxiáshì ti̍t-hat-chhī 6
    Provincial city shì chhī 3
    County xiàn koān 13

These 22 divisions are also regulated by the Local Government Act as local self-governance bodies, each division has its own executive called "city/county government" and own legislature called "city/county council". The city mayors, county magistrates and all legislators are elected by the people under its jurisdiction every four years. Geographically,

  • Six special municipalities, three provincial cities and 10 counties are on the main island of Taiwan
Special municipalities Provincial cities Counties
Kaohsiung City
New Taipei City
Taichung City
Tainan City
Taipei City
Taoyuan City
Chiayi City
Hsinchu City
Keelung City
Changhua County
Chiayi County
Hsinchu County
Hualien County
Miaoli County
Nantou County
Pingtung County
Taitung County
Yilan County
Yunlin County

Townships, county-controlled cities and districts[edit]

The 22 main divisions in the country are further divided into 368 subdivisions, these 368 divisions can be categorized as the following.

Name Chinese Pinyin Pe̍h-ōe-jī Administered by Self-gov. No.
Mountain indigenous township 山地鄉 shāndì xiāng soaⁿ-tē hiong County Yes 24
Rural township xiāng hiong County Yes 122
Urban township zhèn tìn County Yes 38
County-controlled city 縣轄市 xiànxiáshì koān-hat-chhī County Yes 14
Mountain indigenous district 原住民區 yuánzhùmín qū gôan-chū-bîn khu Special municipality Yes 6
District khu Special municipality
Provincial city
No 164

According to the Local Government Act, a county is divided into townships and county-controlled cities. The county seat or place with population between 100,000 and 500,000 may become a county-controlled city. A special municipality or a provincial city is divided into districts.

The townships, county-controlled cities in counties, and mountain indigenous district in special municipalities are also local self-governance bodies. Each division has its own executive called "township/city/district office" and own legislature called "township/city/district council", the city mayors, township/district chiefs and all legislators are elected by the people under its jurisdiction every four years. The normal districts in special municipalities and provincial cities are governed as branches of the municipality/city government and do not hold any local self-governance power.

The mountain indigenous township and districts are created for its significant population of Taiwanese aborigines, in these divisions, only Taiwanese aborigines may be elected to be the township/district chiefs.

Lower-level administrative divisions[edit]

The 368 divisions are further divided into villages and to neighborhoods.

Name Chinese Pinyin Pe̍h-ōe-jī Administered by No.
Rural village cūn chhun Mountain indigenous township
Rural township
7835
Urban village Urban township
County-controlled city
Mountain indigenous district
District
Neighborhood lín lîn Rural village
Urban village
147,877

The village chiefs are elected by the people under its jurisdiction every four years, the neighborhood chiefs are appointed by the village chief.

Other issues[edit]

Joint Service Centers of Executive Yuan[edit]

The central government operates five regional Joint Service Centers (JSC, 區域聯合服務中心) outside Taipei as outposts of the government ministries in the Executive Yuan, similar to the cross-departmental mode of working in the Government Offices in England. These regions, laid out the Comprehensive National Spatial Development Plan for Taiwan (臺灣地區國土綜合開發計劃), can be considered a de facto level of government, perhaps equivalent to the English regions or the Federal districts of Russia.

Name Chinese Date of creation Service area
Southern Taiwan JSC 南部聯合服務中心 Jun. 1, 1998 Kaohsiung, Penghu, Pingtung
Central Taiwan JSC 中部聯合服務中心 May 14, 2003 Changhua, Miaoli, Nantou, Taichung
Eastern Taiwan JSC 東部聯合服務中心 Sep. 29, 2007 Hualien, Taitung
Yunlin-Chiayi-Tainan JSC 雲嘉南區聯合服務中心 Mar. 27, 2012 Chiayi (city and county), Tainan, Yunlin
Kinmen-Matsu JSC 金馬聯合服務中心 Jan. 18, 2017 Kinmen, Lienchiang

The divisions of northern Taiwan are not covered by any JSC, including Hsinchu (city and county), Keelung, New Taipei, Taipei, Taoyuan and Yilan. They are served directly by the headquarter of Executive Yuan in Taipei.

Romanization[edit]

The romanization used for Taiwanese placenames above the county level is a modified form of Wade–Giles, ignoring the apostrophes and hyphens of the original, thus yielding "Taipei" instead of "T'ai-pei" and "Yilan" instead of "I-lan", for example. Some postal romanizations also exist, like "Keelung" and "Kinmen"; in 2002, the ROC adopted Tongyong Pinyin as its national standard for romanization. Most townships and county-controlled cities changed their romanization to Tongyong Pinyin at that time. However, some local administrations, like Taipei and Taichung, decided to use Hanyu Pinyin; in 2009, Tongyong Pinyin was replaced by Hanyu Pinyin as the ROC government standard.[8][9] Currently, most of the divisions are romanized by Hanyu Pinyin system, but some local governments still use Tongyong Pinyin, like Kaohsiung; in 2011, the ROC Ministry of the Interior restored historical romanizations for two towns, Lukang and Tamsui.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

External links[edit]