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.
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