China's cabinet has released a regulation on the management of administrative divisions, according to a State Council decree signed by Premier Li Keqiang.
"The regulation, based on China's experiences over the past 30 years, is of great importance to implement major decisions and plans by the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee and the State Council," according to the regulation.
It demanded efforts to strengthen Party leadership over management of administrative divisions, while due attention given to coordinating urban and rural areas where administrative divisions needed to be adjusted.
"Major adjustment of administrative divisions should be reported to the CPC Central Committee timely," it said.
The regulation also required more standardized management, with adjustment of city-level divisions approved by the State Council and adjustment of township-level divisions approved by the provincial-level government and reported to the State Council.
Local authorities should finish the adjustment within 12 months after approval, with a six-month extension allowed in complex situations.
Those who adjust the administrative divisions without authorization or reporting such changes to higher authorities, will be held legally accountable.
The regulation will come into force on Jan. 1, 2019.