China's administrative units are currently based on a three-level system dividing the nation into provinces, counties, and townships:
The country is divided into provinces, autonomous regions, and municipalities directly under the Central Government;
A province or an autonomous region is subdivided into autonomous prefectures, counties, autonomous counties, and/or cities;
A county or an autonomous county is subdivided into townships, national minority townships, and/or towns.
Municipalities directly under the Central Government and large cities are subdivided into districts and counties; autonomous prefectures are subdivided into counties, autonomous counties, and cities. Autonomous regions, autonomous prefectures, and autonomous counties are all autonomous national minority areas.
The Constitution specifically empowers the state to establish special administrative regions when necessary. A special administrative region is a local administrative area directly under the Central Government.
At present, China was divided into 23 provinces, 5 autonomous regions, 4 municipalities directly under the Central Government, and 2 special administrative region (see the following table).