Town (China)
When referring to political divisions of China, town is the standard English translation of the Chinese 鎮 (simplified: 镇; pinyin: zhèn; Wade-Giles chen4). It is a fourth-level administrative unit, i.e. one of the units into which counties and districts
District (China)
The term district, in the context of China, is used to refer to several unrelated political divisions in both ancient and modern China....

 are divided.

Another common fourth-level unit is the township (乡; pinyin: xiāng); a township is typically smaller in population and more remote than a town (zhèn).

Similarly to a higher-level administrative units, the borders of a town (zhen) would typically include an urban core (what one would call a "town" in Europe or America - a small town with the population on the order of 10,000 people), as well as rural area with some villages (村 cun, or 庄 zhuang).

Map representation

A typical provincial map would merely show a zhen with a circle centered at its urban area and labeled with its name, while a more detailed one (e.g., the map of Xianning
Xianning is a prefecture-level city in China's Hubei province. It is known as the "City of Osmanthus".-Geography and climate:Xianning is located in southeastern Hubei province, just south of Wuhan, between the southern bank of the Yangtze River in the north and the Mufu Mountains in the south. It...

 prefecture-level city at its official web site) would also show the borders dividing the county or county-level city
County-level city
A county-level city is a county-level administrative division of mainland China. County-level cities are usually governed by prefecture-level divisions, but a few are governed directly by province-level divisions....

 into town (镇) and/or township (乡) units.
The town (zhen) in which the county government (and the county's main urban area) is located is often "invisible" on less-detailed maps, because its circle is usually labeled with the name of the county rather than the name of the actual zhen into which this urban area falls. For example, the county government of Tongshan County, Hubei
Tongshan County, Hubei
Tongshan is a county within the Municipality of Xianning, Hubei Province of China. The county is located along Hubei's mountainous south-eastern border with Jiangxi...

 is located in Tongyang Town (通羊镇, Tongyang Zhen), but the maps would normally show it with a circle labeled "Tongshan County" (通山县) or simply "Tongshan" (通山). Road signs would also normally show distance to "Tongshan" rather than "Tongyang".

On the other hand, more detailed maps - e.g., maps of individual prefecture-level cities in a provincial atlas - would label the county seat location with both the name of the county (e.g., 通山县, Tongshan Xian) and, below, and in a smaller font, with the name of the township (e.g., 通羊镇, Tongyang Zhen).

Intercity buses, trains, or riverboats destined to, or stopping at a county seat may designate its destination either by the name of the county or the name of the county-seat township.

Usage of zhen in Taiwan

In contrast to the PRC, in the official translation adopted in the ROC
Republic of China
The Republic of China , commonly known as Taiwan , is a unitary sovereign state located in East Asia. Originally based in mainland China, the Republic of China currently governs the island of Taiwan , which forms over 99% of its current territory, as well as Penghu, Kinmen, Matsu and other minor...

, both xiāng (鄉) and zhèn (鎮) are translated as "townships", with zhèn specifically being "urban" township, 'with xiāng specifically translated as "rural" township
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