Independent Cities (Chinese县级 市/县级 市, pinyin xiànjíshì ) are administrative divisions of the People's Republic of China at the county level. Currently, there are 368 county-level cities ( 31 December 2012).
This number was in the recent past and will also be subject in the future to slight variations on the one hand every now and then circles because of their degree of urbanization are converted to county-level cities, but on the other hand, county-level cities, especially if they are increasingly connected to the urban catchment area parent prefecture-level city merge, be converted into districts.
Independent cities are, as a rule, the prefecture-level cities, administrative districts, federations and autonomous districts, so the district level. However, in the case of the six independent cities of Hainan and some cycle-free cities in Henan, Hubei and Xinjiang they report directly to the provincial level. While this has in the case of Hainan decided not to install a district level ever, both directly to the provincial level assumed independent cities outside of Hainan is an exception, which is also connected with a special status, which is a half step higher than the "normal" independent cities. This intermediate level is called " sub-district - level " since it is above the circle and below the district level.
Direct the provincial level imputed county-level cities
Currently, 15 county-level cities in China are directly subordinated to the provincial level: