China is currently under a three-tiered administrative system - province, county (city) and township. Firstly, the entire country is divided into provinces, autonomous regions, municipalities and special administrative regions. Secondly, a province (or autonomous region) is divided into prefectures (autonomous prefectures), counties (autonomous counties), and cities. Thirdly, a county (autonomous county included) is divided into townships (ethnic autonomous townships, where necessary) and towns. Ethnic autonomy is practiced in autonomous regions, prefectures and counties where ethnic people live in compact communities.
Directly under the central government are 23 provinces, 5 autonomous regions, 4 municipalities, and 2 special administrative regions.
Beijing is the capital of the People's Republic of China and the nation's political, economic and cultural center.