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BEIJING - After a series of administrative changes to urban divisions last year, China currently has 657 cities at all levels, said a report released by the country's Ministry of Civil Affairs Thursday.
According to the document, entitled "The Statistical Report on China's Social Service development in 2010," the central government approved nine applications on administrative area changes in 2010, during which, three county-level cities were newly established.
Chinese cities across China largely fall into three levels: province-level cities, also known as municipalities, such as Beijing and Shanghai, prefectural cities and county-level ones.
The minimum population density for a county to be upgraded to a city in China is 100 people per square kilometer. However, the government considers other factors, such as gross domestic product, before defining an urban area as a city.
Statistics show that by the end of 2010 China had 34 province-level administrative regions, 333 prefecture-level administrative regions, 2,856 county-level administrative areas, plus 40,906 administrative divisions at township level.