Prefectures, formally prefecture-level divisions as a term in the context of China, are used to refer to several unrelated political divisions in both ancient and modern China. There are 333 prefecture-level divisions in China. They include 17 prefectures and 283 prefecture-level cities. Other than provincial level divisions, prefectural level divisions are not mentioned in the Chinese constitution. The prefectural government (Chinese: 行政公署; pinyin: xíngzhèng gōngshǔ) is an administrative branch office with the rank of a national ministerial department (Chinese: 司级) and dispatched by the higher-level provincial government. The leader of the prefecture government, titled as prefectural commissioner (Chinese: 行政公署专员; pinyin: xíngzhèng gōngshǔ zhūanyūan), is appointed by the provincial government. Instead of local People's Congresses, the prefecture's working commission of the standing committee of the provincial People’s Congress is dispatched and supervises the prefecture governments, but can not elect or dismiss prefecture governments. The prefecture's working committee of the provincial committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference is a part of the prefecture's committee of the CPPCC. This means that the prefecture's working committee of CPPCC is a branch of the provincial committee of CPPCC, not an individual society entity. The same is valid for provincial CPPCC, which are formally sections of the national CPPCC.
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