Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Municipal Magnificence

The Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (CASS) says in a new report that Beijing is the top Chinese city for its living environment, and that it is well on its way to becoming a "world city."

Somehow the Chinese capital trumped Shanghai and Hong Kong for its "living environment."

The report defines "living environment" as shopping, recreational, and educational facilities, as well as environment.

While Beijing lost to Hong Kong in terms of shopping (shouldn't Shanghai be second, not Beijing?), the Chinese capital also lost to Macau in terms of recreational facilities. So recreation means gambling?

Beijing also got top marks for its transportation which surely raises eyebrows, as Hong Kong and Shanghai seem to have better public transit systems. On Saturday around 6pm, I was stuck in a traffic jam with cars inching along on Dongzhimenwai Dajie to get home. How is that good transport? I put it down to all 4 million cars on the road at the same time, as there are no vehicle restrictions on weekends.

It should be of no surprise that Beijing didn't do well in the "green" category.

And finally in terms of "city competitiveness", Hong Kong was first, followed by Shenzhen, Shanghai, Beijing, Taipei, Guangzhou, Tianjin, Kaohsiung, Dalian and Qingdao.

With the criteria listed above, how could Beijing have come out on top overall?

It either edged the other cities out just by a point of two, or the report results were rigged.

You be the judge.

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