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Government's role in urbanization must be kept in check | Updated: 2013-04-08 18:09

Upgrading a county to a city does not only refer to changing the name, or China's urbanization will be degraded into a Great Leap Forward style movement, says an article of the 21st Century. Excerpts:

It has been reported that more than 100 counties are preparing to apply to the central authority to upgrade to cities. This is a worrisome phenomenon and must be stopped by the central government.

In the Chinese administration system, the higher the administration center is, the more places it can govern. The power of the municipal government is much higher than a county government. This is the fundamental driving force for these county heads to want to upgrade their level in the administration hierarchy.

The evolution of a place from village to city should be a natural and social process, rather than a purely artificial administrative process. Constructing a new city with the sole purpose of replacing the title of county with the title of city will not bring about a new city and this kind of urbanization also threatens the rural villages.

That some new cities will soon become empty "ghost cities" should serve as a reminder for the county and city heads this model of creating new cities is a waste of money, land and time.

The new central government of China chooses urbanization and domestic consumption as the main driving forces for future economic growth. The central authority also pledges to transform the government’s role to promote the transformation of a growth model.

The government is supposed to be public service providers, more than they are meant to be dominators of the market and the society. But the local governments seek to further consolidate their roles as superior administrations in the process of "new" urbanization, which is opposed to the initial objectives of the central government and must be addressed.

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