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Image building a vanity fair
(China Daily)
Updated: 2005-02-17 09:02

Chinese cities should not be rash and label themselves as "international metropolises."

An excerpt of an article in the Jinan-based Qilu Evening News suggests that they should focus on their respective advantages and preserve their individuality.

So far, 183 cities in China have pledged to make themselves "modern international metropolises" in a few years' time.

So many cities are striving so blindly to achieve such an unrealistic goal. They are actually exhausting ever diminishing resources in exchange for an immediate but not enduring prosperity.

In a recent meeting about urban planning, Wang Guangtao, minister of construction, denounced this morbid phenomenon, saying that even Beijing dared not boast itself as a "modern international metropolis," let alone others.

Image projects, usually a city mayor's display of his political achievements, will invariably overburden a city's economy and the burden is often left for common citizens to bear.

This kind of blind urban development is a result of the government officials' shortsightedness and showing-off mentality. They will spare no efforts, like taking land illegally and resettling inhabitants forcibly, to accomplish some projects. Of course, the projects' propitious effects must be seen within their term of office. As a result, some local governments are plunged heavily into debt, storing up endless troubles for a future administration.

How dare these 183 cities claim their future as "modern international metropolises!" The call to ban such unrealistic urban planning is ringing piercingly.

Departments of construction and land administration as well as banks should be serious in performing their duty. Without government sanction, land and capital investment, local government officials will not set their eyes on the world's first class so off-handedly.

In addition, people should have a say in urban planning, so that flashy projects purely for the sake of image will not be allowed.

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