Greater administrative areas (大行政区 Pinyin: Dàxíngzhèngqū) were early top-level administrative divisions of the People's Republic of China that directly governed provinces and municipalities. These were the largest-ever political divisions of China and were controlled by the Central People's Government. They were dissolved between June and November 1954.
|Area||Hanzi||Initial subdivisions||1st chairman||Capital||Creation||People's gov't creation|
|North China Area||華北區||Hebei, Shanxi, Chahar, Pingyuan, Suiyuan, Beijing, and Tianjin||?||Beijing?||May 1948||August 1948|
|Northeast China Area||東北區||Songjiang, Jilin, Heilongjiang, Liaodong, Liaoxi, Rehe, Lüshun-Dalian, Shenyang, Benxi, Anshan, and Fushun||Gao Gang||Shenyang||August 1946||August 1949|
|East China Area||華東區||Jiangsu, Zhejiang, Anhui, Fujian, Shandong, Shanghai, and Nanjing||Rao Shushi||Shanghai||January 1950|
|Central and South China Area||中南區||Hubei, Hunan, Henan, Jiangxi, Guangdong, Guangdong, and Hankou||Lin Biao||Hankou||February 1950|
|Northwest Area||西北區||Shaanxi, Gansu, Ningxia, Qinghai, Xinjiang, and Xi'an||Peng Dehuai||Xi'an||January 1950|
|Southwest Area||西南區||Sichuan, Guizhou, Yunnan, Xikang, and Chongqing||Liu Bocheng||Chongqing||February 1950|
North China Area was the first to be abandoned on October 31, 1949 when New China's capital was established in Beijing. The provinces it governed were thenceforth directly controlled by the North China Branch (事務部) of the Government Administration Council of the Central People's Government instead. In May 1952, control was again transferred, this time to the North China Administrative Council (行政委員會) of the Government Administration Council.
Several other large-scale entities governed parts of China's territory during this time and were equivalent to greater administrative areas:
Except the Northeast, which was governed by a People's Government, the areas' highest government bodies were Military and Administrative Committees (軍政委員會), which were replaced by administrative councils in November 1952.
The highest officials of the greater administrative areas were known as chairmen (主席). (From this historical origin derives the term still used today for the top officials of China's autonomous regions.)
Several domains in China today retain the same structure of geographic divisions as the GAAs. Military administrative regions, the divisions of some major banks, and civilian aviation districts are still divided in the same form as the greater administrative areas.