Latest News:  


Big Three cities slip as magnets for youth to fulfill China Dream

(Shanghai Daily)

09:29, May 27, 2013

Illustration by Zhou Tao

Usually Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou, the three most developed Chinese cities, monopolize three of the first five places in any ranking of economic competitiveness. They are commonly known as Bei Shang Guang for short.

For a long time Bei Shang Guang has been a magnet for students fresh out of university. Promising higher pay and a brighter future, the three cities are prime places to work and live for ambitious young people, who are often nicknamed bei piao or hai piao, meaning migrants living in Beijing and Shanghai. There is no corresponding term for Guangzhou.

Despite the financial pressure and stress of life in these cities, as well as a risk of thwarted aspirations, young people continued to be drawn to them like pilgrims - until recently.

Last year saw a series of news reports about youths fleeing the hustle and bustle of Bei Shang Guang they once called home. All of a sudden, it seems the former land of opportunity and hope has lost much appeal. Collective frustration with reality in big cities is given an outlet in "Beijing Beijing," a rock song wildly popular for its reflection of the distance between dream and reality in the Chinese capital.

A recently released survey also lent credence to the view that Bei Shang Guang has slid a little in terms of attractiveness, or in the words of the survey, "harmony."

Lack of harmony

The outgrowth of the survey, conducted by Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, is a bluebook issued on May 19, titled "2013 Bluebook on Chinese Cities' Competiveness - New Criteria, Constructing Sustainable, Competitive, Ideal Cities."

The rather lengthy title of the report belies its concise, unconventional findings. For the very first time, Bei Shang Guang wasn't short-listed among the first 10 results. Beijing ranked 14th, Guangzhou came in 19th while Shanghai fell even further behind, at 21st. The first and runner-up places went to Hong Kong and Macau.

Only last year, the three cities still enjoyed the pride of place, with Beijing ranking 3rd, Shanghai 4th and Guangzhou 6th, respectively.

The three poster children of Chinese economic vitality scored so badly this year mainly because, according to Yang Jie, a chief author of the Bluebook, they scored low in harmony, a studied topic. Yang named two reasons for the lapses. First, the hukou system, or household registration, is much more rigid in Bei Shang Guang than in second- and third-tier cities, resulting in less equal opportunity. Second, crime is higher in the "Big Three" cities than in others.

The second reason is not hard to understand, as higher crime rate is a natural byproduct as cities grow in size. As for the first reason, lack of harmony, it is born of a quandary confronting the three megalopolises.

On the one hand, they need migrants, not just young talent, but laborers as well, to keep them going. But the influx of migrants inevitably leads to social and fiscal tension, as the newcomers share a sliver of the social welfare pie. This pits them against the locals, the vested interests, who oppose any new arrangements that dilute their benefits.

【1】 【2】 【3】

We recommend:

Audi Fashion Festival opens in Singapore

Dare to ride terrifying roller coasters?

Dancers perform 'Mirror and Music' in Taipei

Foggy Xin'an River in Jiande, E China

A taste of Russia at Harbin's Volga Manor

Zhang Ziyi poses at Cannes Film Festival

Those weird people in McDonald

Celebrating 'mother of Chinese opera'

Top 10 Hurun best-selling Chinese artists

Email|Print|Comments(Editor:LiXiang、Ye Xin)

Leave your comment0 comments

  1. Name


Selections for you

  1. East China Sea Fleet conducts drill

  2. Snipers complete military skill training

  3. People mourn over British fallen soldier

  4. Paintings of mentally retarded children

  5. Blind date event held in China's Hangzhou

  6. Rainfall witnessed in C China

  7. Glacier shrinks on Qilian Mountain

  8. Enjoy rape flower blossom in Beijing

  9. China may start taxing more luxury goods

  10. Christie's 2013 spring auctions kicks off in HK

Most Popular


  1. Chinese premier's Swiss tour fruitful, influential
  2. China-Switzerland FTA to benefit both sides
  3. What China-Switzerland FTA brings about?
  4. What does Premier Li's Europe visit mean?
  5. Not enough attention paid to neurological diseases
  6. Why Chinese youths appear gloomy
  7. Let taxi fare reform be fair
  8. Beijing taxi fare rise hardly seen as all-win solution
  9. Hope and concerns for civilian drone industry
  10. Exchange rate reform may take time

What’s happening in China

Couple say 'I do' after 35-year wait

  1. Police bust drug ring in central China
  2. Gas pipeline explosion injures two in east China
  3. China's energy demand to peak in 20 years
  4. Life Left-behind family members after disasters
  5. Wuhan bus driver suspected of taking drugs