China's Local Administration: Traditions and Changes in the Sub-National Hierarchy, 1st Edition (e-Book) book cover

China's Local Administration

Traditions and Changes in the Sub-National Hierarchy, 1st Edition

Edited by Jae Ho Chung, Tao-chiu Lam


226 pages | 3 B/W Illus.

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The remarkable changes in China over the past three decades are mostly considered at the national level, whereas local government – which has played and continues to play a key role in these developments – is often overlooked. The themes of China’s local administrative hierarchy, and its historical evolution, have until now received scant attention; this book fills that gap, and presents a comprehensive survey of China’s local administration, from the province down to the township. It examines the political and functional definitions and historical origins of the nine local administrative levels or categories in contemporary China: the province, the centrally-administered municipality, the ethnic minority autonomous region, the special administrative region, the deputy-provincial city, the prefecture, the county, township and urban district. It investigates how each of the different levels of China’s local administration has developed historically, both before and after 1949; and it explores the functions, political and economic, that the different levels and units carry out, and how their relationships with superior and subordinate units have evolved over time. It also discusses how far the post-Mao reforms have affected local administration, and how the local administrative hierarchy is likely to develop going forward.


"This book sets benchmarks in regards to what is required knowledge about the history, structure and complexity of China's local administrative and institutional infrastructure… It will be an indispensible research and reference tool for anyone interested in China's local government, public administration, provision of public services and political reform." - Hans Hendrischke, The China Quarterly, Volume 203, September 2010

"This volume is a much-needed publication which provides a comprehensive overview of the spatial organization of political power in China’s administrative hierarchy… This volume contains profound analyses, which are packed with intricate details, yet highly readable through the use of illustrative examples. It should be essential

reading for political scientists, sociologists, geographers and anyone else interested in understanding China’s evolving administrative structures." - Björn Alpermann, Assistant Professor of Contemporary Chinese Studies, Würzburg University; Journal of Chinese Political Science/Association of Chinese Political Studies 2011

Table of Contents

1: The Evolving Hierarchy of China’s Local Administration: Traditions and Changes - Jae Ho Chung 2: Provinces: Paradoxical Politics, Problematic Partners - John Donaldson 3: Centrally-Administered Municipalities: Locomotives of National Development - Tse-Kang Leng 4: Ethnic Autonomous Regions: A Formula for Unitary Multiethnic State - Hongyi Lai 5: ‘One Country Two Systems’ and Special Administrative Region: The Case of Hong Kong - Ray Yep 6: Deputy-Provincial Cities: Embedded Yet De Facto Players - Jae Ho Chung 7: Prefectures and Prefecture-level Cities: Political Economy of Administrative Restructuring - Shiuh-Shen Chien 8: The County System and County Governance - Tao-Chiu Lam 9: Chinese Township Government: Between a Rock and a Hard Place - Yang Zhong 10: Urban District: A Half or a Full Level of State Administration? - Tao-chiu Lam and Carlos Lo

About the Editors

Jae Ho Chung is Professor of International Relations and Director of the Institute for China Studies at Seoul National University, Korea. His recent publications include: Central Control and Local Discretion in China; Charting Chinas Future; and Cities in China: Recipes for Economic Development in the Reform Era (the latter also published by Routledge). Tao-chiu Lam is Assistant Professor in the Department of Management and Marketing at Hong Kong Polytechnic University. He currently administers the university's MBA program in Xian and Shenzhen. He has published on local government and public sector management in China.

About the Series

China Policy Series

With the rise of China and its impact on the world, interest in China has increased drastically in recent years. This series focuses on policy-oriented research and scholarly works with policy implications, on all aspects of contemporary Chinese economy, politics, society, environment, journalism and cultures.  It also covers China’s foreign relations with major international organizations such as the United Nations, World Trade Organization, and World Bank, and major powers such as the United States, European Union (and its member states), Japan and others.

Learn more…

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Ethnic Studies / General
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Regional Studies