Word on the WeChat circle and as yet unconfirmed, slipping the information in under the holiday radar: Shenzhen and Xiamen may have been elevated to the status of provincial ranked Special Administrative Regions (特别行政区) and not directly administered cites (直辖市) as many have been speculating. Hong Kong and Macao are SARs; Beijing, Tianjin, Shanghai, and Chongqing are directly administered cities.
It’s true, because of the establishment of the Shenzhen and Xiamen Free Commerce Zones, where there will be different legal systems, if Shenzhen and Xiamen are SARs then they are higher-ranking cities than Beijing!
As part of its elevation, Dongguan’s Chang’an, Qingxi, and Fenggang Districts, Huizhou’s Huiyang District, and Huizhou’s section Daya Bay will be redistricted to Shenzhen.
The Guangdong Provincial Vice Secretary, Ma Xingrui will be promoted to be the first General Secretary of the Shenzhen SAR.
And just like that: good bye special economic zone, hello special administrative region. Let me know if you see an official announcement. In addition to WeChat notes, I’ve seen blog posts. The fact that the news is circulating is, like wow, NEWS.
Update: not news, apparently. Over the Chinese New Year, the speculation was that Shenzhen and Xiamen would become directly administered cities. In fact, just what’s going to happen is still unknown…