Cities' rankings are nothing for their govts to get excited about
THE GLOBALIZATION AND WORLD CITIES RESEARCH NETWORK, a think tank created by the geography department of the Loughborough University, has published a ranking of world cities, which ranks six Chinese cities as world first-class cities and dozens of cities as second-class cities. This has sparked a wave of infectious excitement among some of the local governments. Beijing News comments:
The governments of these cities, which are used to being regarded as second-class cities in China, must have been surprised and flattered to be ranked among the world's second-class cities.
It is undeniable that the Chinese cities have witnessed fundamental changes over the past 40 years of reform and opening-up, and some are not inferior to global metropolises. But the brouhaha caused by the rankings among some city governments is unwarranted.
The list mainly focuses on the concentration of six service industries－banking, insurance, legal, consulting, advertising and accounting－to classify the cities into different levels. Although the standard is reasonable to some extent, it is far from being a comprehensive and complete evaluation of the cities' strengths and status.
Of course, the real question is not whether the list is authoritative, but why it has attracted such strong attention from the city governments.
This is because of the lack of authoritative and similar research in China, and there is no recognized evaluation system for the development of modern Chinese cities, and there are many disputes over the rating of cities in China.
In fact, there are people and agencies at home profiting from the vanity of local governments by organizing various kinds of ratings or rankings of top 100 villages, counties or cities nationwide in which the rankings depend on the amount of "sponsorship" provided.
Rather than worrying about where their cities appear on this or that list, the governments should concentrate on their governance, the development of new urban areas and environmental protection. Making a fuss over rankings is simply putting the cart before the horse.