previous chapter
"A High Place Is No Better Than a Low Place"
next chapter


3. "A High Place Is No Better
Than a Low Place"

The City
in the Making of Modern China

David Strand


Lanzhou, the capital city of Gansu Province, stands at the geographical center of China. Located in a region notorious in the late imperial period for treacherous travel conditions, the city was, and is, a long way from centers of Chinese political, economic, and cultural life.[1] How far away depended, of course, on mode of transport. In the Republican era, Xi'an to Lanzhou by car took four to seven days (or three hours by once-a-week air flight).[2] A journey by camel from the nearest railhead at Baotou lasted forty days.[3] In an essay published in Mao Dun's 1936 compilation of vignettes, "One Day in China," Qian Julin, newly arrived in Lanzhou, made the city seem like the end of the world. A temple fair on Wuquan Mountain overlooking Lanzhou reminded him of the Festival of the Bathing of the Buddha in Jingan Temple in Shanghai. But he also lamented that in "lifeless and lonely Lanzhou," Mount Wuquan is the only "attraction" in an otherwise "dreary" place.[4] Sketching a hectic scene of pilgrims, beggars, prostitutes, peddlers, policemen, country girls dressed in "old and very out of fashion" clothes, "a few modern girls from the south," and a lone Christian evangelist, Qian also reported seeing a sign on the temple library that read, "‘A High Place Is No Better Than a Low Place.’ I say," he concluded enigmatically, "Lanzhou is no better than Shanghai."[5]

High in what sense? No better in what way? Shanghai towered over Lanzhou and nearly every other Chinese city in terms of marketing functions, political and cultural centrality, wealth, and population. But Shanghai apparently was no better for all that and Lanzhou no worse for being dreary. Reasons for this bleak comparison may lie in the author's personal desolation as an exile who both missed and deplored Shanghai, a city as famous for decadence and disorder as for progress and modernity.[6]


Cities in the first half of the twentieth century were high in that they held the commanding heights of most technological, cultural, and political change and low in their apparent inability to translate this advantage into a stable, urban-based economic, political, and social system capable of governing China. Cities like Beijing and Shanghai failed to produce or command a powerful nation-state. However, through media like newspapers, professions like writer, banker, and businessman, and disciplines like urban planning and social criticism, urban China did help produce a growing consciousness of being modern and Chinese. Among the parallel tracks and countercurrents left by failed republics, lost wars, and cultural humiliation was a heightened sense of connection among cities and between urban China and the rest of the country. High or low, Qian Julin saw Lanzhou through memories of Shanghai and Shanghai from his new vantage point in Lanzhou. He wrote his essay on Lanzhou within the framework of a common urban reality connected by camel, boat, horse or mule cart, car, train, and plane that also extended into the countryside and out into the world.

Distances were shrinking, however fitfully and unevenly, increasing the likelihood of finding the commodities and institutions of coastal Shanghai at the end of a long journey to a city of the interior like Lanzhou. Things one might buy in these out-of-the-way places, like cigarettes or patent medicine, were available as part of a national market. They were advertised, as Sherman Cochran shows in chapter 2 of this volume, with the help of recognizably Chinese and non-Chinese images. Alien and hybrid forms abounded. Western buildings with Chinese roofs, and political parties with citizens ordered in what political writers of the day described as "pagoda-style" hierarchies, achieved a generic presence in big cities and small towns. Meanwhile, temple festivals were still celebrated in modern, cosmopolitan Shanghai.

Urban zones and bands of influence widened beyond treatyport enclaves. The building of motor roads, such as the highway from Shanghai to Nanjing, laid out new urbanized corridors along older commercial routes.[7] In good weather, one could drive from Xi'an to Lanzhou in four days, because by 1935, a new road, complete with service and aid stations equipped with telephones, had been completed between the two cities.[8] Railway construction, though disrupted by war and political instability, tied cities together in ways that supplemented and superseded the water routes of the late imperial period. Connections and mobility promoted a mental picture of city life as one of continuous and simultaneous activity. Standing in the train station outside Qian Gate in Beijing, one could visualize disembarking outside Yudai Gate in Hankou.[9] With a further act of imagination one might anticipate completion of the 1901 plan to link Beijing to Guangzhou by direct rail.[10] By midcentury, rail lines would reach Lanzhou as well.

Six years after Qian Julin sent his ironic message from the interior, Cai Mengjian, the mayor of Nationalist-held Lanzhou, gave an optimistic speech celebrating the city's progress while still acknowledging the burden imposed by Lanzhou's remote location.[11] By 1942, the war against Japan had given Lanzhou's

old roles as Silk Road way station and imperial outpost new strategic import as the city became a link in supply lines running to and from the Soviet Union.[12] The Japanese invasion had also driven businesses and refugees west, stimulating economies and swelling populations in "rear-area cities" (houfang chengshi). From 1937 to 1940, the population of the city almost tripled to more than 150,000.[13] But in reporting on a recent trip taken to Chongqing to attend a political meeting, Mayor Cai lamented that, of the two hundred officials present at the Chongqing convocation, only eighteen had ever visited Lanzhou. The remainder pictured Lanzhou as "a desolate or uncivilized place," an image the mayor had tried to correct.[14]

Listening to the reports of other municipal officials also kindled the mayor's own sense of what kind of place Lanzhou ought to be: "In comparing Lanzhou to other cities I was for the most part satisfied. Only two points caused me to feel ashamed. One is that in terms of city size, the other cities are all bigger than Lanzhou. According to the Guilin report, Guilin's total area is 1,060 sq. km. Many surrounding counties are under its jurisdiction…. Our Lanzhou has only sixteen sq. km. That is really too small. Second, there is the problem of finances. Last year our budget for six months was only 900,000 yuan. Guilin's for one year is 6,000,000. Guilin itself only [has to] collect 2,000,000 itself. The rest comes from the provincial government."[15] Cai went on to note that although a third of Lanzhou's budget came from provincial sources, the city should be able to "step forward" to a better fiscal standing. And assuming that new resources were forthcoming, the mayor imagined a future, thriving (and larger) Lanzhou with neatly laid out commercial, industrial, academic, recreational, and residential zones.[16] The epithet "uncivilized" when applied to places like Lanzhou provoked not merely a denial but a plan to steal a march on the competition.

Mayor Cai's actual accomplishments were more modest: under his leadership, the town built a public Resist and Reconstruct Hall (kang jian tang) capable of seating a thousand people, added an official municipal guest house, repaired roads, opened public bathhouses, experimented with supplying scientifically tested potable water to residents at reasonable prices, and installed a number of street lamps.[17] These achievements, as well as grander plans to make Lanzhou a fully modern city, were touted with the enthusiasm befitting a local booster. Mayor Cai also succeeded in making Lanzhou bigger. Within a few months of his speech, and in the name of better planning and administration, Cai negotiated a tenfold increase in area for Lanzhou municipality.[18]

Remote Lanzhou's somewhat far-fetched claims to centrality were made more plausible by the unsettled nature of China's urban hierarchy. In contrast to recent Qing times, there was no clear center to look to. In the period from 1900 to 1950, the political capital of China strayed all over the map: Beijing in 1900–1912, 1912–28, 1948 (as "secondary capital"), and 1949–50; Nanjing in 1912, 1927–37, 1940–45 (as "puppet capital"), and 1946–49; Luoyang in 1932 (as "administrative capital"); Xi'an in 1932–43 (as "secondary capital" Xijing); and Chongqing in

1937–46.[19] With a more flexible definition of what constituted a national capital, Guangzhou, Wuhan, and Yan'an might also qualify during the months and years they hosted insurgent Nationalist and Communist regimes. Fixed status as important or unimportant, central or peripheral, was something cities could not count on and needed not necessarily accept. Who was to say where the center of China or a region within China actually was or, indeed, whether China would survive as a single political entity? Lanzhou was obliged to defend its position and importance. But so were Beijing, Shanghai, and Nanjing. In 1927, when the question of which city should be China's capital was debated, one brief in favor of the winner Nanjing acknowledged that Beijing, in addition to its position as current capital and cultural center, had become a railway hub served by four lines. But Nanjing had four rail lines as well and was better situated in the new "Pacific era" by dint of ready access to the ocean.[20] Of course, the author conceded, the argument he had just made against Beijing might also favor Wuhan. But Wuhan, with its three linked cities of Wuchang, Hankou, and Hanyang straddling the Yangzi River, was too vulnerable to flooding. Admirers of Wuhan stressed the tricities' struggle against natural forces as a badge of higher modernity. Wuhan rivaled St. Petersburg in the degree of human effort required to construct it in the face of an unpromising physical environment, a quality also shared by Hong Kong and Qing-dao.[21] After 1945, this debate was reopened, with many northerners favoring Beijing and southerners Nanjing.[22] Compromise proposals imagined Beijing as a political or "land" capital and Nanjing as a ceremonial or "sea" capital. Other candidates included Wuhan, Xi'an, and Jinan. Even Lanzhou won adherents on the basis of its central geographical location.[23]

The rise and decline of cities based on changing political and economic realities was nothing new in Chinese urban history.[24] The positioning of military garrisons, the licensing of salt monopolies, or the raising or lowering of a city's administrative status could have deep and long-lasting effects on urban commercial and cultural life. What was new in the early twentieth century was the promise of uniform progress made against the reality of unevenness imposed by political upheaval, staggered treatyport openings, the vagaries of global economic change, and the progressive modernization of transport. The windfall of attention, refugees, and investment Lanzhou received during the war years rapidly diminished after 1945, as people and capital flowed south and east.[25] Lanzhou did not become the Washington, D.C., or Brasilia of China. However, after 1949, in a recentered People's Republic, new political decisions to develop the surrounding region's natural resources led to further bursts of construction and growth.

Objective measures of urban development (or decline) were rarely congruent with the pace and direction of change imagined by planners, politicians, and residents. The real Lanzhou of the 1930s and 1940s lay somewhere between the desolation evoked by Qian Julin—and presumed by skeptical officials from other cities—and the festival of development imagined by Mayor Cai. In Lanzhou, stove beds (kang) were heated by horse dung or dung mixed with coal, and yet, limited

electrical service had been installed here before it was available in more developed Xi'an to the east.[26] Drinking water from wells in the surrounding hills was not always safe, and water taken by carriers from the Yellow River outside of the city's North Gate was polluted by human and animal waste.[27] Public health problems such as contaminated water contributed to the fact that in December 1934, in one city hospital alone, 2 percent of Lanzhou's population was treated for disease.[28] And yet, as this statistic proved, Lanzhou did have the beginnings of a modern medical establishment. The fact that living in Lanzhou could make one ill was a spur to reform.

Lanzhou was a study in contrasts weighted toward the preindustrial, with city walls still intact but also abutting a famous iron bridge built across the Yellow River in 1909.[29] Like Qingdao's 1890 iron pier, the Yellow River bridge both served transportation needs and staked out a symbolic foothold for the future expansion of a machineage China.[30] A few official buildings, banks, and hospitals in Lanzhou were modern style and of two or three stories. But most residences and shops had dirt floors, mud roofs, and old-style paper windows.[31] Selfconsciously conservative Lanzhou people described their community as one in which "women's feet are small [bound] and heads [hairstyles] are big." But more recently, the number of women with natural feet and bobbed hair had seemed to increase day by day.[32] Despite the existence of a number of struggling factories, Lanzhou remained dependent on other cities for even simply made goods. For example, mule carts were all manufactured in Xi'an and rickshaws were also imported from there, as well as from Kaifeng and Zhengzhou.[33] But this dependency also reflected Lanzhou's commercial ties with distant cities and integration into regional and national markets.

Lanzhou was a hub of trade for Gansu as well as Xinjiang, Qinghai, Ningxia, and Suiyuan. As such, it was a likely location for the reprocessing of goods like wool and hides. But attempts to build blanket and tanning industries in the area had faltered by the 1930s.[34] In the mid-1870s, Zuo Zongtang, governor-general of Gansu and Shaanxi appointed to suppress Muslim rebellions in the northwest, had ordered construction of a gunpowder plant and a weaving factory in Lanzhou.[35] The weaving factory, outfitted with equipment purchased in Belgium, was one of the earliest machine-powered plants in China and so in a class with comparable mechanized projects like the Tianjin telegraph bureau, the Kaiping mines, and the first textile plant in Shanghai.[36] However, once Governor-General Zuo left the local scene for further military and political challenges in Xinjiang and other corners of the empire, these industrial projects languished.[37] A similar fate met a tanning factory opened in 1922 in the nearby county seat of Tianshui.[38] Despite efforts by a former local official who "sent men to buy machinery in Shanghai and employed technicians from big tanneries in Tianjin and Sichuan," the business failed because of "poor management." Lanzhou's backwardness was both a burden and a provocation to development-minded officials and residents. The pressure to push the city beyond its current capabilities came from both outsiders

bent on exploiting the region's resources and strategic position, and insiders anxious for their community to reach standards set by sister cities like Shanghai and Guilin.

All this pushing and maneuvering could not in one stroke alter the basic facts of economic and geographic life. Cities in China were deeply affected by their rural surroundings and hinterlands. Lanzhou's money market was closely keyed to the agriculture cycle of planting and harvest.[39] Since much of the city's interurban trade depended on camel trains (to Baotou and then by train to Tianjin), commercial and manufacturing activity peaked in the spring and fall and was idle in late spring and summer to permit replenishing of the camel herds.[40] Lanzhou's urban economy—however modern it might appear when judged by products available in markets, technologies installed in factories and offices, and plans promoted in political meetings—was still captive to the reproductive cycle of the camel (and to the flotilla of inflated goatskin rafts carrying goods downriver to Baotou). In fact, the warinduced growth of the city in the late thirties and forties increased dependency on the camel as demand for transport rose and the availability of fuel for cars and trucks became ever more erratic.[41]

The geographer Clifton Pannell has argued that in China as late as 1937 "not a great deal of progress [had] been made in the emergence of a truly national urban system."[42] Given the documented rise of significant interregional trade in the late imperial period (c. 1550–c. 1920) and the acceleration of trade in the twentieth century, the presence of Zhengzhou-made rickshaws and Shanghai consumer goods in Lanzhou helps sketch a picture of more significant, if incomplete, progress.[43] Uneven rates of development made coastal cities like Shanghai different in both degree and kind from cities of the interior like Lanzhou. But many inland cities, no matter how remote from the coast, were equipped with basic modern institutions and technologies like police forces, telecommunication and rail links, and factories. Militarists, politicians, merchants, and tourists used Chinese cities in systematic ways to win wars, mobilize political supporters, sell products, and pursue pleasure. This conscious, systematic use of urban China was one means by which such a national system took shape. In turn, an urban infrastructure of rail, telegraph, and telephone lines and branching systems of commerce, culture, and politics made the idea of an integrated China more than an imperial afterthought or a modern abstraction.

As embarkation points, entrepôts, and busy producers of goods and services, Shanghai and other large coastal cities dominated industry, foreign trade, and the production of newspapers, films, and magazines. By keeping up with the rest of the world, Shanghai in particular stayed ahead of most places in China. Shanghai's "first textile mills were built before any in the American South, and by 1930 it had… the largest mill in the world; its first cinema opened five years after San Francisco got its first large movie house; and by the late 1930s its Commercial Press was publishing each year as many titles as the entire American publishing industry."[44] By 1946, 85 percent of imports to China passed through Shanghai and

60 percent of exports left from the city's docks.[45] And yet, as Susan Mann notes, "up to 80% of China's national product was still being produced outside of Shanghai's developed enclave during the early twentieth century, in the dispersed economies of rural marketing systems that formed the broad base of China's central place pyramid."[46] Citing G. William Skinner's work on China's central place system, Mann emphasizes the likely low general rate of urbanization in China in the first half of the twentieth century, probably far less than the 20 percent often mentioned in contemporary writings, though more than the 6 percent estimated for the late nineteenth century.[47] A more recent estimate places the urban population at 16.1 percent in 1949.[48] However, low overall rates of urbanization were combined with "a more balanced pattern of growth… than is generally found in other societies during the same period," and one that "favored market towns and villages rather than larger cities."[49]

There is truth in the image of an urban China paced and shaped by messages, goods, models, and technologies from Shanghai. Bits and pieces of Shanghai, like the "modern girls" glimpsed by Qian Julin on Wuquan Mountain, turned up all over, and travelers from Shanghai saw the imprint of their city in surprising places. The geographer Fang Wenpei noted that Chengdu's Chunxi Road East Avenue, "well-ordered and bustling, strangely resembled Shanghai's Nanking Road."[50] Even Lanzhou had silk, cloth, and foreign goods shops "by and large patterned on Shanghai department stores."[51] The trade might be called capital goods (jinghuo hang) in Lanzhou, connoting an earlier pattern of obtaining luxury items from Beijing, but the goods themselves came now from metropolitan Shanghai and Tianjin.

This Shanghai model writ large or small reflected more direct, yet subtle, kinds of influence and control. Shanghai and Beijing newspapers tended to dominate journalistic enterprise in other cities. Wuhan had forty newspapers but "most plagiarize Shanghai and Beijing newspapers."[52] News items were in turn copied by other newspapers until the news became more and more out of date as one read copies of copies. Old news in Wuhan and out-of-fashion clothes in Lanzhou thus shared a common point of origin and common standard of backwardness. Local markets were "conquered" by metropolitan papers.[53] Because of advances in communications, Shanghai papers could arrive in Suzhou or Hangzhou in a few hours and Beijing papers in a day or two. Residents learned, according to critics, not to take seriously the pasted together dailies that made claims to be their city's newspapers.[54]

However, the marketing of newspapers from the coast could also promote reciprocal patterns of interaction. The Tianjin feminist newspaper Funü ribao (Women's daily), founded in 1923, was one of several newspapers with that name published in different cities by different groups of women activists.[55] The stated purpose of the paper was to provide "a place for women to speak," permit "women in different parts of China to produce powerful propaganda materials," and encourage coordination of a nationwide movement.[56] During a period in

1924, when the question of whether men should head women's schools was being debated in the Funü ribao, female students in a women's college in Baoding rebelled against their male headmaster.[57] The Tianjin newspaper sent a special correspondent to Baoding to contact the students and cover the story, with the initial interviews being done by telephone from the reporter's hotel because school authorities had locked the women in the college. Baoding, as a military and warlord center, had a reputation for conservatism. However, Yuan Shikai's use of the city for military training, beginning in 1902 as part of the Qing New Policies reforms, led to the founding of army and police schools and later a law academy and veterinary and medical schools.[58] Unlike Zuo Zongtang's industrial enterprises in Lanzhou, Yuan's educational ventures took hold. In due course, Baoding acquired so many schools and academies that it earned the reputation of being a "student city." Newspapers, libraries, and printing factories underpinned a growing cultural establishment of uncertain political loyalties. In this light, an outbreak of feminism in Baoding is not so surprising.[59] As the protest unfolded over a period of weeks in 1924, women and women's organizations from around the country wrote in to support the Baoding students, demonstrations were held in Tianjin on their behalf, and the students themselves sent a deputation to Tianjin to mobilize support. Through the medium of the feminist press, one could act locally in the presence of a national audience and, from the standpoint of editors in coastal centers, compose the larger meaning implicit in scattered outbreaks of school protests. Provincial cities like Baoding responded to seeming "treatyport" issues like feminism in distinctive ways. The Baoding women's protests focused less on their school head's maleness than on his incompetence and failure to press ahead with educational reform, a stance very much in line with their city's decades-old New Policies ethos.[60] The site for feminist politics was not just big cities like Tianjin or even smaller towns like Baoding but a network of publishers, writers, readers, and activists linked by subscription, rail, phone, and a shared sense of women's issues.

The diffusion of institutions and technology to cities like Baoding was impressive. By 1918, two-thirds of provincial capitals had libraries.[61] In contrast, half of early-twentieth-century Russian cities "had no library of any kind and 95 percent had no institutions of higher education."[62] By the mid-thirties, most provincial capitals in China had "power plants, electric lights, flour mills, match and soap factories, telegraph and telephone installations, as well as modern schools, colleges, hospitals, hotels, and Christian churches," according to Olga Lang.[63] Lang also noted that "sometimes there are private houses and government buildings inspired by European architecture of Edwardian times. Some streets are paved with asphalt. Many business houses use foreign types of advertising and even neon lights. On street corners loudspeakers broadcast news and music from Shanghai or Nanking, adding a new note to the traditional noises of the Chinese street. Long modern gowns, rare in the hsiens, are frequent. Universities, normal schools, and technical institutes provide the city and its provinces with a modern intelligentsia.

Local newspapers print Chinese and foreign news."[64] By midcentury, many cities had majority populations of literate residents, most of whom had some level of formal education.[65] Even places several steps behind Shanghai or Tianjin looked to be budding with promise. Though Chongqing, as late as 1933, had only just begun to replace rattan sedan chairs with automobiles and rickshaws, it was still judged as having the potential to rival "other great Chinese commercial ports" once its streets and roads were rebuilt and widened.[66] Even though Qingdao lacked sufficient freshwater for drinking and industrial purposes, it could be judged by boosters as "not having reached its peak of prosperity" rather than as being simply inferior to Shanghai and Tianjin.[67] Although Lanzhou's conservative reputation in matters of gender was well deserved, the city's rendition of 1919 May Fourth protests included student demands for male-female equality and women's liberation.[68]

The distribution of modern machines and sentiments, though patterned by coastal-interior and coreperiphery relationships, was given to unpredictable highs and lows of action and intensity. A "balanced" urban system weighted toward the interior and smaller urban and marketing centers has led scholars like Rhoads Murphey to underline the historic separateness or alien nature of coastal cities based on their inability to complete or even begin the economic and cultural conquest of the rest of the country.[69] And yet this same system, by its market-sensitive nature, facilitated the distribution of Shanghai's economic, institutional, and cultural products. To borrow a term of Certeau's cited by Cochran, Shanghai's enclosure of modernity in such brilliant and tarnished form made it an ideal field for "poaching" by entrepreneurs, activists, and planners from all over China.

In interior cities like Lanzhou, the imprint of Shanghai and other coastal cities, though clear, continued to be limited by a variety of material factors. In addition to the greater weight of agricultural and pastoral realities on urban life, replicating habits of consumption was easier than building whole new modes of production. Industrialization, and the social transformations it wrought, spread more slowly from city to city than industrial products distributed through established and expanding markets. One might put down Lanzhou's difficulties in building an industrial base to its remoteness, but, as William Rowe points out, despite Wuhan's factory boom, nearby middle Yangzi River "commercial and handicraft centers as important as Shashi, Xiangyang, and Changde saw remarkably little industrialization until after the Second World War."[70] Nanjing's 1920s victory in the competition to become China's capital resulted in government-led economic and population growth without the rise of a factory economy. Toward the end of the Nanjing decade, less than 1 percent of the city's population worked in a handful of mechanized factories.[71]

If the influence of Shanghai was broadly but unevenly felt throughout urban China, even Shanghai appears to have been incompletely "Shanghainized" (Shanghai hua).[72] Olga Lang noted in the 1930s that in Shanghai, "although modern dress was a common sight, the traditional garb predominated. Many streets

were in no way different from those of" Beijing, Hankou, or Baoding.[73] Recent research by Hanchao Lu on shopping habits of the Shanghai population confirms Lang's observation and suggests that the existence of Nanking Road as a central attraction of the modern city did not displace smaller neighborhood stores and shops as centers of residential life.[74] This is not surprising since cities normally cannot urbanize their hinterlands without receiving rural influences in return.[75] The more products Shanghai sent to the interior the more rural dwellers it drew to its factories and industrial slums. The fact that some fashion-minded Chengdu or Lanzhou residents were more attuned to Shanghai's Nanking Road than many "urban villagers" in Shanghai suggests that the borders of modern urban China ran through the coastal metropolis as well as between Shanghai and its near and remote hinterlands.

Shanghai and other coastal cities also felt the influence of interior urban centers. For example, Hankou's financial markets were sufficiently powerful to influence those of Beijing and Shanghai.[76] Cities other than Shanghai might set the standard for building and development projects. When a "greater Shanghai plan" was drawn up in the 1920s, Qingdao was cited by backers as "our model" for the most modern harbor facilities.[77] As Wang Ling has recently pointed out, relationships among cities in terms of relative dominance or subordination could be quite complicated.[78] The weight of treatyport economic power eventually altered Beijing's long-standing dominance of Tianjin. However, the rise of Tianjin owed a great deal to investments made in military and other industries by the Qing state. Republican-era Beijing politicians like Cao Kun retained large holdings in Tianjin, while Beijing's demand for investment and equipment for projects like its waterworks and electric companies stimulated the growth of suppliers in Tianjin. Political power concentrated in Beijing converted to economic power, and cultural authority in Tianjin revisited the old capital and advanced the project of modern design. The basic construction and interior work for Beijing's new library built in 1934 as a hybrid of Chinese and Western forms were carried out by Tianjin firms.[79]

Travelers, politicians, and journalists saw cities of this period in modular and composite form. One could find Shanghai in most cities in China, and elements of these cities in Shanghai. As Lao She noted with amusement, even elements of a decadent city like Beijing had begun turning up in more modern centers of urban life:[80]

Since Beiping was bequeathed its status as former "ancient capital," its pageantry, its crafts, delicacies, dialect, and policemen, have gradually been dispersed to the four corners, spurred by the search for new places of wealth and men of aweinspiring demeanor like the emperors of old. And so Westernized Qingdao has Beiping "hot pot"; in bustling Tianjin late at night you can hear the low and mournful cry of peddlers selling Beiping-style delicacies; in Shanghai, Hankou, and Nanjing there are policemen and official messengers who speak Mandarin and eat sesame-flavored pancakes. Scented tea from the south is double-smoked in Beiping and sent south again. Even pallbearers can on occasion be found on trains to Tianjin or Nanjing, bearing the coffins of the high and mighty.[81]


Cities were not only centers of commerce in other things; they themselves could become commodities in whole or part and be dispatched by train or slower form of transport to colonize or embellish the social, economic, and political life of other cities. Influences were reciprocal rather than unidirectional, and unpredictable rather than tightly planned. In the process, the points and lines of urban China grew and thickened in ways that promised an alteration in the role and power of cities as a system. Cities became the object of reflections on the nature of urban and social life and the sites of extensive economic and social change. Critics who took a broader view of China's urban condition and prospects complained that governments only seemed to pay attention to the largest cities and ignored the potential of "interior and ordinary" urban centers.[82] As one sign that cities had come to exist as a separate category of thought, policy, and culture, municipal studies emerged as a scholarly and administrative discourse.[83] Fashions in bobbed hair, hot pot, and municipal reform spread from city to city within a receptive urban culture.

City governments themselves were prey to fashion and the enthusiasms of the moment. In the space of a few months, from the early winter of 1928 to the summer of 1929, nine urban centers selected official city flowers. Cities justified their choices on local and national grounds.[84] In Shanghai, cotton defeated the lotus in a popular poll in an expression of city pride in, and concern for, the troubled textile industry. Ningbo's municipal government picked the lotus on the grounds that the flower could "thrive under a fierce sun [Japan]," and that, since it grew in water, it could represent the reputation of intrepid, sea-going Ningbo residents as the "Norwegians of Asia." Devoting time to choosing official city flowers might suggest misplaced priorities given more pressing urban issues like poverty, drug addiction, and crime. But the event underlines the fact of urban development during this era as both a particular and a general phenomenon. Not every city could support a globally competitive textile industry or tannery, much less an effective municipal government. But every city could, if it wished, join in localism's latest incarnation—civic boosterism—and puzzle over the choices offered by peonies, chrysanthemums, bamboo, and roses as signs of participation in a national movement for a more modern city in China. The airfields, buses, hospitals, and harbors would follow as a matter of developmental logic. To be a modern Chinese was to be proud of one's hometown—native or adopted—and to see local development as a concrete embodiment of the larger, necessarily more abstract reality of China. In the process, the old sentiment of localism, fueling competition and, paradoxically, reinforcing demands for centralized budgets and national standards, helped fabricate new ideologies and policies like nationalism and economic modernization.


Cities like Shanghai, Guangzhou, and Beijing were centers of social criticism and polemic because they were modern. They had the requisite concentrations of

newspapers, political parties, universities, labor unions, and publishing houses to support public discussion and action. Even a small cluster of modern institutions in a city like Baoding provided sufficient means for joining a national chorus of critics and advocates. While never famous for political activism, Lanzhou residents participated in the founding of the Republic and early protest movements like the May Fourth Movement in good part because one institution—the Gansu College of Law and Politics, opened in 1909—provided a base for Republican and radical politics.[85] With the further aid of networks of educators, graduates, and students from Lanzhou resident within other cities or involved in national politics, political circles in the city were able to receive information and cues about political and social issues from Beijing or Guangzhou and react accordingly during national movements like the May Fourth protests.[86] Personal networks, hometown ties, and the core of modern institutions characteristic of provincial cities permitted the emergence of an urban political community that was remarkably inclusive and integrated.

Cities were also centers of social and political criticism because they were cities and so presented critics and activists with urban problems to recoil from and react to. Urban life stimulated social criticism directed at gaps between rich and poor classes, clashes between old and new (in areas like fashion, politics, business, and culture), differences in style and function among cities (as in the supposed conflict between commercial Shanghai and cultural Beijing), and the chasm perceived to have opened up between city and village.[87] According to Susan Mann, writers tended to take a systematic approach to the problem of cities based on the assumption that urban problems were part of a larger rural (and small town) context.[88] Some critics rejected the city in nativist fashion and proposed a rerooting of Chinese civilization in the village. Others sought to rebuild or reconstruct rural China by using the wealth and resources of cities. Still others defended urbanization as an engine of growth and accepted urban crisis as a necessary by-product of progress.

Chinese urbanites not only faced each other and compatriots in the countryside but also counterparts in New York, Paris, Tokyo, and Berlin. The kinds of models proposed by reformers were often taken from the global discourse on urban planning. For example, the garden city idea (tianyuan xinshi) enjoyed a considerable vogue in the twenties and thirties in China. Dong Xiujia, an acute observer of urban affairs who held positions in the Shanghai and Hankou municipal governments in the 1920s, advocated the creation of garden cities to meet the health and housing needs of both city and village.[89] The filthiness of modern cities and the backwardness of village life might thereby be canceled out by bringing nature into the city and modern conveniences into the countryside. Otherwise, China was fated to sink to a medieval level of "barbarism." Intellectuals just returned from European cities where traditions of municipal planning and management tended to be strong could become incensed at the seeming irrationality of the still-standing city walls, growing rickshaw trade, and shortages of basic services like

street paving and cleaning.[90] The presence of treaty ports provided ready access to the particulars of these Western models. The rapid construction of Qingdao by the Germans in 1901–6 left "a little Berlin" of broad streets and neat white buildings with redtiled roofs that struck visitors as parklike in aspect.[91] These relatively complete, "exported" cities, or cities within cities, of the treatyport era served as an open kit of modern devices.[92]

The mobility and turbulence that unified and buffeted urban China ensured that reform thinking would penetrate the interior and reach smaller urban centers. When a new municipal government was established in Lanzhou in the summer of 1941, the city's Nationalist newspaper observed that in the past "the construction of our country has mostly been in the east, especially in the great coastal cities."[93] However, the editorial went on, advances in European and North American urban planning directed at garden and satellite cities had shown that smaller cities like Lanzhou constituted the future of urban design. Anticipating the arguments Mao Zedong was later to make about the need for inland industrial alternatives to coastal development, the paper argued that Lanzhou was certainly safer (though not immune) from enemy attack. The recasting of Lanzhou as a Western garden city eventually inspired initiatives in pursuit of this ideal. In the spring of 1942, Mayor Cai Meng jian announced plans to carry out the greening (luhua) of the city through a treeplanting campaign.[94] A tree in deforested Gansu was as striking an image as one planted in the slums of Shanghai. A garden city in Lanzhou also fit the ambitions of dislocated administrators and modernizers forced to pick up where Zuo Zongtang had left off. While Lanzhou's flurry of municipal reforms would not have happened when it did without the intervention of the war, urban reform as an idea and policy had been introduced to other interior cities like Chengdu long before the Japanese drove China's national government west.[95]

An eye for the aesthetic possibilities of a new urban China was accompanied by a nose for corruption and decay. Like their contemporaries in Europe and North America, Chinese reformers found the bad smells attending congestion and urbanization a particular outrage. From a scientific perspective, the smell of sewage signaled the threat of disease.[96] In this regard one late imperial legacy— nightsoil collection—provided a ready target and object lesson on the need for reform. Long-standing prejudices directed against nightsoil carriers by city residents made the case for modern sewers or stricter regulation of nightsoil removal easy to make. The fact that human excrement was an urban resource of value to an agricultural society was less important than the need to make Chinese cities smell the same as modern, Western ones (in which, if they were not garden cities, the odor of excrement would presumably be replaced by that of smokestack and combustion-engine pollution).[97] One reformer sardonically reported that Xuanwu Gate in Beijing was also known as "Shit Gate" by local people because of its regular use as a point of conveyance by nightsoil haulers.[98] Another decried the "unsurpassed… stink of the nightsoil drying yards outside Anding Gate."[99]

One individual, whose account of development in the Wuhan cities in the 1920s was generally appreciative, did not refrain from noting the "stink" that assailed one when one left the foreign concession area.[100] And since the smell was associated with inadequate sanitation measures by municipal authorities, the bad smell was directly related in this critic's mind to other forms of corruption and inefficiency: "Although there is a police force, they have no idea what sanitation is."[101] The German and Japanese periods of direct municipal administration in Qing-dao were marked by a high degree of success in the areas of sanitation and health. After retrocession of control to China in 1922, the city became gradually dirtier. A reformminded observer noted that "although twice a year, in the spring and fall, police were dispatched to inspect the city, they did this in a perfunctory manner and without any real effect."[102] However, for nativists, cities stank of worse things than raw sewage. According to Zhou Zuoren, all cities had a disagreeable "Shanghai odor" (Shanghai qi), a quality the folklorist Tao Xingzhi termed "Shanghainization" and defined as "busyness, vulgarity and selfishness."[103] Cities turned honest men and women into degenerates as a matter of course through activities like rickshaw pulling and prostitution, wherein "uncounted male citizens" were used as "beasts" and their female counterparts as "playthings."[104] Even seemingly harmless practices like leisure hours spent in the parks of Shanghai were suspect. The revolutionary and writer Chen Tianhua believed such idle promenading to be so dangerous to one's personal and patriotic resolve as to justify leaving the city before it was too late.[105] The expansion of the city's leisure industry in the form of public amusement arcades and the selling of lottery tickets threatened to undermine "cultural order" and place city residents in the grip of "carnal desire."[106] Observers fretted that older forms of recreation linked to festivals like those celebrated at the New Year were being replaced by "dog races, roulette, dance halls, massage, and various kinds of improper enterprises."[107] Mao Dun portrays the revulsion of a young activist standing "stupidly at a tram station on the street corner. All around him were perfumed women with gleaming arms and legs, the rumble of vehicles, the noise of people, the arresting green and electric lights. An indescribable disgust arose in him."[108]

When this kind of antimetropolitan critique was developed most fully, technical modernity seemed to matter less than the general idea that the bigger and the more powerful the city, the more terrible the price paid for Western-style progress. And so for one intellectual disillusioned with urban life of the 1920s, commercial Guangzhou, industrial Shanghai, and political Beijing were "the three great centers of Chinese materialism" and, at the same time, the three worst "holes of poverty."[109] The notion that big was bad opened up opportunities for critics in the interior. In 1941, a Lanzhou newspaper, playing on the conventional image of Shanghai as an "island" "orphaned" by the Japanese occupation (discussed in chapter 11 by Paul Pickowicz), printed an article entitled "Shanghai: Poisoned, Orphaned Island" describing a city in the grip of poverty, moral decay, and, now, enemy occupation.[110] The appeal to a Lanzhou readership of a powerful Shanghai

cut off and laid low can be easily imagined. But the tables could not have been turned in so neat a fashion without the import of coastal models of urban administration, business, politics, and culture, combined with a reflexive anti-big-city current in contemporary social and political thinking.

Other critics, while aware of the moral and social problems represented by unsanitary conditions and degenerate behavior, also looked to the city for solutions. While cities were often the objects of criticism, they also represented a new standard of remedy. Advocates for cities stressed the importance of a more favorable attitude toward cities in moving beyond the traditional "agriculture-based state."[111] Citing India as a negative example, Dong Xiujia asserted that no country that emphasized agriculture alone could end up in a strong position.[112] Arguing in an undisguised antirural vein for a more balanced approach, Dong pointed out that "cities are the centers of the national economy."[113] Whereas cities can create wealth out of desolate landscapes, as the cases of Hong Kong and Qingdao proved, "China's villages have existed for thousands of years without the slightest improvement."[114] Eventually, citydriven economic growth would raise the standard of living in rural China as urban residents and industries bid up the price of agricultural goods.

Another strong, pro-city statement came from Hu Shi, who, reacting to the reality of rural and urban interpenetration, argued that Chinese cities were not urban enough: "The main reason for the failure of our big cities is that up until now we still have not broken with the customs of rural life. These habits include freedom, doing what one pleases, and being disorganized and passive. The new habits required by urban life [are an] involvement in politics, respect for law, systematic organization, and an active [attitude toward] work. If we cannot rid ourselves of these rural habits and live and work in tune with the city, we will not be able to manage urban affairs."[115] For political liberal Hu Shi, village air made one free and irresponsible, while the modern city was a workshop of industry and citizenship. As long as Chinese cities retained a rural air, they would resist the discipline of modernity. In partial recognition of the power of rural and small-town ways of life in the cities themselves, another writer, who evoked the experience of "stepping back several centuries" when he walked out into the surrounding countryside, agreed that "even within the same city the thinking of some people may range far into the future, beyond the realm of present-day life and experience, while others are stuck fast in the ways of their ancestors and will not deviate from them even a trifle."[116] Chinese cities bordered the fields of rural China and housed residents whose habits remained just as rustic as those who still farmed. The challenge, it seemed, lay in extending the city limits outward to the village and inward to those city people who remained immune or resistant to modern life.

That a liberal like Hu Shi praised the disciplinary value of modern urban life suggests a dilemma faced by those who would use the city as a means of changing China and Chinese. Freedom in the city might belong to a crusading newspaper editor or protesting students seeking to expand the public sphere of debate and

contention. But freedom also belonged to guilds and families screened from public view and official regulation by shop rules, courtyard walls, and traditions of self-regulation. This had been Sun Yatsen's famous complaint when he derided the traditional freedoms held by clan, family, and locality as making Chinese society so much loose "sand" in the hands of revolutionaries and reformers. Reformers took advantage of limited, but significant, freedoms of press, publication, and assembly to demand cities that were cleaner, safer, more efficient, and more productive. Since these goals required a more disciplined citizenry and a larger state, reformers embraced administrative solutions to social problems. This sometimes left the defense of urban freedom to local elites accustomed to commanding apprentices, workers, and other dependents and inclined to support authoritarian regimes capable of supplying social order. In the search for common ground, the pluralism encouraged by commercial culture and free public spheres was rivaled by the elite and popular appeals of order, discipline, and planning.


As a result, if many urban reformers imagined cities playing a burgeoning role in charting China's future, they also assumed that the state would enlarge its presence in urban affairs. As William Kirby shows in chapter 4, the impulse to administer and plan gained strength among elites throughout the Republican era. Despite the poor reputation of government for solving China's great problems, administrative initiatives during the late-nineteenth-century self-strengthening and the post-Boxer, New Policy era gave a strong impetus to the modernizing city. As late as the 1920s, it was clear to one observer of Wuhan's development as an industrial city that the four factories developed by Zhang Zhidong beginning in 1889 laid the foundation for the hundred or more that existed by 1924.[117] Zhang in 1895 also authorized construction of a modern cotton mill in the small, lower Yangzi River city of Nantong. As Qin Shao has shown in a new study of Nantong, local reformer Zhang Jian used this enterprise as a base to build a huge industrial, commercial, and cultural establishment.[118] By the early 1920s, Nantong not only had several textile factories but also an ironworks, wine factory, flour mill, and even a movie studio. Even when they failed to measure up to reformers' expectations, late Qing projects left surprising and subtle legacies. The turn-of-the-century construction of Zuo Zongtang's weaving factory in Lanzhou and the iron bridge thirty years later not only nudged the city into the machine age but also accomplished a "miracle" in the history of the region's two-wheeled or camel-borne transport system by encouraging the use of four-or even six-wheeled carts to bear the weight of the heavy metal equipment that needed to be freighted in.[119] In later decades, ordinary mule carts were improved by exchanging iron wheels for old automobile wheels and tires.[120] The New Policies also were of decisive importance in the growth of public utilities in many cities.[121] Cities that pioneered in the development of utilities later provided equipment and expertise for other urban centers.

When officials in Xi'an decided in the 1930s to modernize the city's antique system of two hundred hand-cranked telephones, they managed to obtain cast-off telephone and electrical equipment from Hankou and Nanjing and install a new phone system serving nearly a thousand customers.[122] In addition, the proliferation of new urban organizations like chambers of commerce took place throughout the country within a legal and administrative framework built by late Qing reformers.[123]

Republican-era political failures have obscured successes at the newly defined level of municipal governance. The absence in the late imperial system of a formal place for citywide, municipal government represented a suppressed administrative possibility. Big enough to address problems like local transportation and social order and small enough to avoid responsibility for military security or rural distress, the modernizing Chinese city could exploit advantages of scale that other localities and regions lacked. Therefore, if one is searching for the origins of an interventionist, administrative Chinese state, the city is a good place to look.

However, even when planners and administrators mustered the resources and will to carry out modernization projects, city residents often proved less than enthusiastic about the circumstances under which such public goods were provided. In a wide-ranging essay on local opposition to urban "reconstruction" (jianshe), Dong Xiujia identified several reasons why resistance to road-building and other public development efforts was so common. First of all, projects of all sizes disrupted urban life while often failing to convince residents of future benefits like higher property values and better communications.[124] In many cases, compensation for land taken for public purposes was set too low.[125] Attempts to widen streets in Guangzhou stirred the "opposition of private property owners who were [not surprisingly] reluctant…to see their property destroyed."[126] The same kind of complaints erupted in Lanzhou when the municipal government tore down buildings as part of a road-repair program.[127] Lanzhou officials claimed that improved communications finally pleased everyone and opined that "destruction is the mother of success" in such enterprises. But not everyone was so easily convinced. When the Beijing waterworks, established in 1908 by Zhou Xuexi, sought to lay pipe into the city, the line of construction happened to cross a sliver of graveyard property belonging to the imperial clan.[128] Zhou expended months of effort to negotiate passage through the parcel in the face of angry attacks by clan officials and accusations that the company had dug up graves in its haste to excavate. Even in cases where the interest at stake lacked such potent social or spiritual connections, customary expectations of compensation for property taken by the state made actions by developers liable to provoke an intense reaction.[129]

One way in which municipal planners and builders were able to avoid extensive conflicts with private property holders was to tear down city walls and construct roads and streetcar lines in their place. The destruction of city walls in the twentieth century has sometimes been seen as an expression of modernist, totalitarian fury directed at tradition and "feudalism."[130] Certainly such emotions existed

on the part of planners and builders. Defenders of city walls accused reformers of mindlessly destroying an important cultural and historical legacy.

Shortly before the fall of the Qing, reformminded officials considered the possibility of demolishing Beijing's massive walls and installing a streetcar system in their place.[131] In 1912, a newspaper editorialist, Leng Wangu, in an article entitled "Beijing's Walls Must Not Be Torn Down," blamed the "mentality of tearing down walls" (chaicheng de sixiang) on "great political reformers" who believe that "because a dictatorial form of government has been overthrown, nothing in China that is old may be left standing."[132] Leng attacked what he saw as the shallowness and mindlessness of such actions:

Although merchants and commoners are not so inclined, political reformers feel they must tear them down. And besides demolishing walls, there is cleaning the streets (jingjie). What is this thing called "cleaning the streets"? It is the wholesale knocking down of old houses to open up new, modern roads. In addition, [they] construct colossal foreign buildings which effect a great appearance and may be beneficial and healthy [but really reflect] an immaturity, a temperament [geared toward] managing things, superficiality, a parading of foreign prosperity, a failure to grasp the true nature of China (guonei), and a lack of understanding of the difficulty of [finding] resources.

Deeply skeptical of plans made by those he sarcastically referred to as "the new men of purpose and principle" (xin zhishi), Leng pleaded for "preservation of ancient relics," especially those in good condition like Beijing's walls, and cutting new gates where they were needed to meet the criticism that city walls were incompatible with modern traffic and communications. Modernity encompassed destruction as well as construction. This connection between tearing down and building up was an article of faith among many revolutionaries, from Sun Yatsen to Mao Zedong. Whether defacing a temple image in the name of hostility to superstition, tearing down a city wall to build a road, or destroying a class to make room for the people, violent assault on things and people helped define one's modernist credentials. While the first half of the twentieth century in China arguably witnessed more destruction than construction, the two processes were intimately related in the minds of planners, builders, and developers of all ideological stripes.

Leng Wangu was probably correct in claiming that grand and violent forms of developmentalism hostile or indifferent to cultural preservation lay behind the destruction of city walls. However, another, perhaps more practical, reason had to do with choosing the path of least resistance through the maze of individual and corporate property rights embodied in the Chinese city. The massive amounts of tamped earth and brick that had to be cleared out suggests the inertial force of that part of the urban tradition. The removal of Guangzhou's walls took three years, and the result was new, broad avenues suitable for modern transport.[133] But even there, wall demolition excited the opposition of owners of adjacent housing who feared damage to property values.[134]


In explaining resistance to the kind of general program of construction Leng Wangu railed against, Dong Xiujia also pointed to another practical problem: residents feared and resisted the tax increases often levied to finance reform projects.[135] Planners felt obliged to try to accomplish in a few years, through bold, expensive strokes, what took decades or centuries to achieve in European cities. Once built, projects like roads and telephone lines had to be maintained, and in the case of labor-intensive bodies like police forces, supported through large additional budgets for wages. Police levies, in particular, in the form of house or gate taxes, were often regarded as a burden by city residents.[136]

Municipal bureaucracies also insisted on the same, elaborate structure of bureaus and agencies no matter what the size or needs of the city in question.[137] Prestige and developmental ambitions reinforced the notion of big governments even for small cities. As a result, the greater part of municipal budgets went to pay official salaries rather than fund construction and service-oriented projects city people might better appreciate. Dong cited Ningbo, Anjing, and Suzhou as examples of cities too small to justify a full complement of municipal agencies. Nonetheless, residents were called on to support outsized bureaucratic structures with their tax contributions. Poor performance, linked to corruption, insufficient funds, or skewed priorities, further alienated residents.[138]

Finally, the failure to develop self-government institutions prevented emergence of what Dong characterized as proper sentiments (ganqing) between officials and residents.[139] Administrators "did not really listen" to city people (shimin), and so residents naturally opposed many policies they neither understood nor sympathized with. Chengdu police reformer Zhou Shanpei made an effort to build in such sentiments through a system of police commissioners (juzheng) at the subprecinct level who were to be "chosen by the people," but this method of linking police and community did not come to fruition.[140] Where such links emerged, as they did between shopkeepers and precinct stations in Beijing, they formed questionable marriages of convenience between policemen starved for unpaid wages and local merchants seeking to "rent" protection.[141] Even reformers with scant interest in democratic reform acknowledged that the key to successful "municipal reconstruction" (jianshi) was providing real "benefits to the people" in order to establish trust and, eventually, a cultural or spiritual reconstruction of the city (jianxin).[142]

Dong Xiujia recommended a number of measures designed to slow down the process of government-induced change, lighten the tax burden, educate the public, consult with various circles (jie) in the city about government plans and projects, and fight corruption.[143] Such moderation was in sharp contrast with the reformist zeal of leaders of cities like Shanghai or Lanzhou who were eager to commence projects, raise revenues, and defeat opposition to their schemes. Trying to put the brakes on development earned local people the contempt of officials who did not share Dong Xiujia's more balanced perspective and instead regarded such actions as evidence of feudalism, superstition, and selfishness. Remedies of

the kind Dong suggested are interesting, coming as they do from a committed urban reformer. They suggest a measure of common ground with the typical, though far more piecemeal, reactions of local residents and groups when faced with ambitious municipal projects.

Public skepticism of government was linked to the basic difficulty that municipal regimes had in distributing services and benefits to publics broad enough to stand for the shimin as a whole. The building of public utilities, for example, tended to benefit the relative few who could afford electricity, piped-in water, and telephone service.[144] And the dramatic improvements promised did not always represent such a sharp or positive break with past practice. In the port of Yantai, Chinese and foreign merchants contributed funds to finance a number of paved roads comparable to the best Shanghai had to offer. On the one hand, these new roads stood in stark contrast to the filthy and often impassable small lanes and alleyways. On the other, old-style streets made of cobblestone were still serviceable and not in any obvious need of replacement.[145] Likewise, replacing nightsoil carriers with modern sewage treatment systems promised to fix something that was not so much broken as smelly and limited in its capacity to keep pace with the modern city that reformers idealized. As Leng Wangu observed in his polemic on city walls, if one finds a wall "hopelessly ruined, an eyesore and an impediment to traffic," by all means one should tear it down.[146] But if, like the Beijing walls of 1912, they are "solid and lofty" and help keep out bandits, one should leave them alone. Rational choice was not always on the side of reformers. In the case of tax reform, existing and seemingly corrupt tax-farming schemes might appear relatively fair to residents when compared with higher, noncustomary rates resulting from a more "rational" system imposed from above.[147]

A remarkable feature of the development of municipal administration in the Republican period is the weakness of democratic and representative institutions.[148] The trend lines in urban political participation and state building both climbed upward in the first half of the century. May Fourth–era students with their mass protests, and political leaders with their newly built armies and parties, dramatized the often opposing—but also complementary—poles of popular movement and political order. The middle ground of an institutionalized public sphere faltered as electoral institutions and representative assemblies fell flat after the early Republic. In fact, the peak of institutional commitment to elections and assemblies in Shanghai may have come in 1909 under Qing reformers.[149] This was not simply a matter of political intransigence on the part of officials. By the end of the second and the early part of the third decade of the twentieth century, many political activists had become "disillusioned with local politics."[150] Late-Qing-and early-Republican-era enthusiasm for local self-government faded "as local assemblies were seen as instruments of bureaucratic venality and local elite exploitation."[151] Periodic attempts were made to democratize municipal institutions. But groups critical of government policy often had difficulty agreeing on how to transform their oppositional stance to bureaucratic or arbitrary rule into institutional

reform. Proposals in 1925 to form a special municipal unit in Shanghai with a mayor elected by residents were opposed not only by the national government and militarists but also by self-identified "local gentry and merchant" groups who wanted to handle local affairs themselves in a manner that seemed consistent with the city's "antigovernment" image.[152]

Although municipal reformers continually called for greater citizen participation in city politics and government, the trend in government was toward less accountable, more authoritarian administration. Late Qing initiatives promised municipal assemblies, and the 1911 revolution sparked regional and local suggestions for elected mayors and councils.[153] But Yuan Shikai's suspension of self-government regulations in 1914 cut short the constitutional basis of municipal democracy. Later attempts to reform city government were as likely to address the issue of independence from the central government as direct participation by residents.[154] Decentralization of power, whether based on the conventions of localism or newer federalist principles, had a higher priority than democratization. The southern Nationalist regime borrowed the American commissioner model of city government. But whereas commissioners in places like Galveston, Texas, were elected, the Nationalist plan called for the mayor to be selected by the provincial government.[155] Throughout the early 1920s, provincial governments promulgated revivals of more democratic arrangements. But none was implemented. After national unification in 1928, the dominant thrust in Nationalist administration of cities was what one contemporary nicely termed a "French-style" statism.[156] In Beijing, with many government functions performed by the police, and announced plans for self-government in the early 1920s continually deferred, the city's municipal office functioned as a kind of "public works bureau" with few direct ties to city people.[157]

By the early thirties, despite a raft of plans for democratic self-government in urban areas, the basic structures were still "officially managed" (guanban).[158] As a result, as Dong Xiujia complained, "the people, aside from paying taxes, transmit nothing to the government" —except, one might add, their periodic protests, bribes, and extortion payments.[159] A general municipal election took place in Beijing in 1935, but the government in Nanjing quickly nullified the results.[160] This rejection of democratic practice makes the Shanghai municipal government's decision in 1929 to put the question of the city's official flower to a vote in a popular poll all the more poignant. The other eight cities involved made the decision by administrative fiat or, in one case, upon the recommendation of local no-tables.[161]

The issue of state power in cities of the period is complicated by the fact that nongovernmental bodies like chambers of commerce served variously as agents, partners, or opponents of the regime. One way of looking at the development of municipal government in the twentieth century is to see this as a process whereby earlier structures of informal governance by local elites were formalized in new governmental institutions. But the statist and antidemocratic trends of the earlier

Republic seriously disrupted any such movement and left these often-powerful social groups in an ambiguous position.

Variation in the role of chambers of commerce is particularly striking as another example of broad diffusion of a particular modern form—the professional association (fatuan)—and consequent adaptation to local conditions. As in the case of schools, public utilities, and other modern institutions, chambers of commerce spread rapidly from metropolis to city to town, aided by the balanced or bottom-heavy nature of China's urban networks. By way of comparison, the development of chambers in Japan proceeded slowly and deliberately, so that the number of chartered commercial societies increased from 56 in 1900 to 61 by the end of the second decade of the twentieth century.[162] China had nearly 1,000 in 1912 and more than 1,500 registered chambers of commerce in 1919.[163] Since local chambers sometimes failed to register with the government, the actual number was probably even higher. Chambers in larger cities resembled their counterparts in European or North American cities in their range of activities related to improving commerce, mounting exhibitions, and lobbying the government. Chambers in smaller cities and towns might only serve to mediate commercial disputes.[164] Or, as in Nantong, they might play "an indispensable part in… the creation of schools, transportation facilities, new police forces, and land reclamation companies."[165] All chambers of commerce provided conditional access to the significant wealth of member firms and guilds, thus attracting the attention of government entities bent on constructive activity or simple extortion. In an era when revenues lagged far behind planned expenditures, chamber contributions—for projects like Nantong's schools and police and Lanzhou's new town hall—enabled reformminded officials to continue to move forward.[166] Qing reformers originally had wanted chambers of commerce to play the role of junior partner in an overall strategy of state-directed and-inspired economic development.[167] Though chambers were granted the role of "protecting commerce," and presumably their interests as merchant bodies, the new organizations were discouraged from having anything to do with politics or public policy. But chambers were soon drawn into such political realms by the very logic of the reforms themselves. Bureaucrats in Beijing in some cases saw local merchants as allies against the foot-dragging exhibited by conservative local officials.[168] The revenue-collecting and regulatory activities of the state also triggered a merchant response. As Nantong's Zhang Jian observed with considerable excitement, "Since chambers of commerce have been established in various places, merchants…have gradually acquired the mentality of not putting up with the obstructions and extortion of customs officials. When confronted with these old injuries, they now cry out at the injustice instead of keeping silent and bearing them like they did before."[169]

Some merchants were now as impatient with the old proverb that cautions "In business only discuss business" as political reformers were with the presence of city walls, dirty streets, and outmoded municipal administrations. Discussing business led to debating political issues like taxation, legal reform, and foreign competition.

Moreover, the key to success in business and in the larger project of building a powerful China seemed to be organization beyond one's firm and beyond one's city. As two Shanghai chamber officials complained in 1909, "Chinese merchants are sick! We are in a state of collapse! [Merchant] A and B will not work with each other. This business and that one lack mutual empathy. This port and that port fail to communicate. The situation daily worsens as we find ourselves at loggerheads with each other. Thus weakened we are subject to official oppression and the control of foreigners."[170]

As Yu Heping observes in a recent study of Chinese chambers of commerce, Chinese merchants came to have a national perspective as a result of the influence of New Policy rhetoric and policies and their own involvement in chamber activities. During the period 1907–14, local chambers of commerce, led by merchants in Shanghai and Hankou, gradually began to work in concert, leading to the formal establishment of an "All-China Federation of Chambers of Commerce" in Shanghai in 1914.[171] Three hundred protests in seventeen provinces during the spontaneous 1905 anti-American boycott demonstrated the potential power of a mobilized, nationwide merchant community. A journal published in Shanghai beginning in 1909 reported on merchant activities throughout the country and printed the messages, letters, and telegrams of local chambers.[172] Merchants, like political reformers and feminists, found intercity urban China supportive of consciousness-raising and organization building. To be sure, formal links also stimulated factional conflict and government oppression. At one point in 1916, a split along north and south, big-city-and county-level chambers threatened to overturn results of an election for the Federation presidency.[173] In 1914, the central government was forced by merchant protests to redraft new chamber of commerce laws that would have banned any national organization, required chambers to use language signifying an inferior administrative status in "reporting to superiors" (bing), and stipulated that chambers must report to and accept the detailed guidance of local officials.[174]

The merchants' remedy of organizing upward to citywide status and outward to other cities closely followed the strategies pursued by other groups, classes, and circles during this period.[175] Politicians ranging from Liang Qichao and Sun Yatsen to Mao Zedong and Hu Shi agreed that if grouping together was a source of strength, the bigger the group the better. Merchant leaders reasoned that "when merchant and merchant come together[,] that produces a chamber of commerce…. If chambers unite in a [national] federation (dahui), the extent of its effectiveness will be hundreds of times greater than [that of] today's chamber."[176] Being Chinese meant joining and following ever-larger groups and organizations, hitching part of one's identity to membership in unions, chambers, federations, and parties.

The Chinese city supported this process of group formation and integration in a variety of ways. Late imperial cities were already relatively well organized within particular trades and communities of sojourners, examination candidates, and

temple goers.[177] In some cases citywide trades or guilds had formed federations to help govern large commercial cities like Hankou.[178] Taking the next step of formalizing intergroup cooperation, while risking factional struggle and other forms of conflict, did not require a huge leap in terms of organizational resources and practices. In addition, the customary mobility of merchants and other sojourners from city to city and city to town and village facilitated the spread and replication of innovations like the chamber of commerce. Provincial hostels (huiguan) and hometown associations (tongxianghui) played important roles in hosting and undergirding association building.

In the absence of movement toward representative government, democracy— in the sense of election of officers and rule of law—made greater headway within nongovernmental bodies than in the juridical and political space that lay between state and society. Chambers of commerce reinforced established guild practices of holding meetings and elections in ways that made both chambers and member guilds more democratic.[179] The wave of chamber of commerce building in the last years of the Qing and the first decade of the Republic was followed by the reorganization of guilds in many cities along chamber lines. Byrna Goodman has shown how tongxianghui in Shanghai were subject to these same kinds of procedural innovations.[180] In Beijing, the practice of rotating leadership positions among the elders of a native-place organization gave way to the election of presidents or boards of directors.[181] In some cases, the government seems to have mandated democratization as a means of opening up autonomous and opaque institutions to government regulation and monitoring. Democratic practice—real enough, if judged by fights for control of local unions and chambers, and assertions of rights to vote for leaders and decide matters of collective importance— coexisted with encroaching state surveillance and continuing paternal hierarchies.

The conservative, order-keeping stance often taken by local organizations like chambers of commerce and other professional associations was a frustrating fact of urban political life for municipal reformers and political agitators alike. Though chambers finally supported and helped finance the 1911 revolution, the initial impulse of the organized merchant community had been moderate rather than revolutionary. During the first years of the Yuan Shikai presidency, chambers typically sided with government as a force of order against the political demands of revolutionary agitators.[182] As Yu Heping concludes in his study of the many progressive and innovative features of chambers of commerce in the late Qing and early Republic, the paramount goal of merchant elites was order. "No matter what kind of government, what kind of doctrine, what kind of party, [merchants] only wanted to maintain social order."[183] Anything else was liable to be seen as "a bad system, bad government, and even the enemy, the ‘party of disorder.’"[184] In the aftermath of the turbulent May Thirtieth Movement, a left-wing observer of the Nanjing urban scene made the following analysis: "The bourgeoisie have organized their power in three forms: the chamber of commerce, the satin [trade] association, and [other] local societies. These latter include an agricultural society,

a lawyers' association, and various guilds. Their power exceeds that of the chamber of commerce. But aside from ingratiating themselves with officials and militarists, they care nothing for local public or national affairs. Last year during the heat of the May Thirtieth Movement, nothing could stir them."[185] Shorn of polemic, the passage accurately describes some of the key functions of local elite organizations. "Ingratiating themselves" with officialdom and the armies in the neighborhood was often the key to maintaining social order and protecting local interests. In fact, an earlier article on the student movement in Nanjing had complained that this "live and let live" attitude was not confined to merchants of the city, since students also accepted unspoken limits on their protest activities.[186] Such self-restraint was one of the hallmarks of the late imperial urban social order, and the value attached to informal, mutual adjustment had yet to dissolve even in an age of ideological "heat."

In order to act effectively, officials either tried to ignore local notables like chamber of commerce leaders or selectively co-opt them. Activist municipal officials, like Mayor Wu Tiecheng of Shanghai in the early 1930s, succeeded best when they constructed a narrow base of support for their policies among social and economic elites they shared political and native-place connections with.[187] Such tactics of Chinese municipal officials resembled those of U.S. mayors in the early stages of urban renewal in the 1950s who handpicked compliant citizens' action commissions to mobilize public support without disturbing their control of the reform agenda.[188] For example, Mayor Wu's appointed municipal council of 1932 was weighted to include fellow Cantonese and bankers from Zhejiang and Jiangxu who were politically reliable. Later, this council was broadened by the addition of selected educators, journalists, and labor union leaders willing to cooperate with the government (and in a few cases oppose government initiatives on a narrow range of issues).[189] The way the Shanghai municipal council functioned was clearly at odds with the democratic promise embedded in many political reform proposals from 1909 on. However, by working the practice of consultation into the council's operations, the minimum expectations of a narrow range of local elites could be met as they "contributed their opinions on municipal matters" to the government.[190] In cases where elites managed to retain their prestige and broad influence over urban society, such consultations could be binding in ways that suggest that the underdevelopment of democracy was partially offset by the mediating efforts of local notables. Kristin Stapleton cites Chengdu's "Five Elders and Seven Sages" (wulao qixian) as examples of late Qing degree holders who remained "arbiters of the public good" into the 1940s.[191]

These two tendencies—administrative absolutism and elite mediation—helped set the stage for the urban reaction to Japanese occupation. After the initial phase of brutal assault, including the terror bombing of Shanghai and the Nanjing massacre, Japanese authorities settled in for a general program of development and order keeping. In north China, in fact, "the overall distribution of productive capacity, the urban character, the communications situation, and the regional economic

functions of an urban system produced great changes."[192] Since the Japanese were capable of providing both administrative guidance and social order, a local, urban perspective on the occupation might easily counsel collaboration even at the price of putting aside the national ambitions these local interests had once aligned themselves with. As Frederic Wakeman suggests in chapter 9 of this volume, such tendencies toward treason were strong among opportunists and villains. But there were also systemic and cultural reasons for collaboration, ranging from the persistence of reporting to superiors, whomever they might be, as an element of political and bureaucratic culture to the fielding of a cadre of notables expected to ingratiate themselves with the regime in place. Being a local booster could be an expression of national patriotism. But defending closely allied local interests might also lead to a charge of treason.

The adaptability of late imperial urban traditions is, in retrospect, quite impressive. Byrna Goodman and others have shown how native-place ties so important to Mayor Wu (and practically everyone else in urban China) expanded to serve a broad range of social, political, and economic purposes.[193] These findings seem to conflict with the harsh judgment Hu Shi made about the tendency of urban residents to keep their hometown identities at the expense of a true commitment to the city they actually lived in.[194] As evidence Hu offered the fact that individuals continued to list their native places on their calling cards and inscribe these connections above the gates to their residences. The task ahead, according to Hu, involved changing the attitudes of urban residents so that they would behave more like city people than country people or visitors: "Our first duty today in reforming municipal government is to create shimin. The way to create shimin is not to scream about overthrowing feudalism by banning the inscribing of native-place on calling cards or on one's front gate but rather to gradually carry out shimin participation in government."[195] In fact, Goodman points out that because of the adaptability of native-place solidarities and their role in making abstract notions like "nation" concrete in the defense of family and hometown, we might imagine urban residents of the Republican era skipping the stage or level of shimin consciousness.[196] Hu Shi was, perhaps, wrong about the supposed debilitating and narrowing force of native-place sentiments. But he may have been correct in pin-pointing the tentativeness of an urban identity "for itself."

There were many exceptions to this tendency to think and act subethnically, sublocally, and nationally rather than in a citywide direction. The threat of physical attack on a city, as happened in many places during the warlord period, instilled in residents a strong, if momentary, sense of the city as a community of fate.[197] Beijing residents who opposed moving the national capital to Nanjing in 1928 made their case on behalf of themselves as shimin.[198] Other forces likely to provoke selfconscious actions by shimin included contact with the modern city as a technological and institutional entity: a rapid rise in rates of taxation, changes brought on by construction projects, and higher utility rates or fares. The role of urban resident as consumer of public services or even private housing was an important

vehicle for raising shimin consciousness. The weight of a new tax or the prospect of a new regulatory policy prodded citizens into realizing the dimensions of an urban community of fate and, on occasion, acting on that basis. Hu Shi's argument that shimin consciousness required participation in municipal government suggests a dialectical relationship between city people as citizens and consumers, on the one hand, and citywide administration and power, on the other. For example, during the long process in which the Beijing Streetcar Company was proposed, financed, and constructed, all kinds of protestations were made by and on behalf of Beijing's shimin concerning issues like the need for public ownership, danger to residents who might be struck by streetcars, harm done to the livelihood of rickshaw pullers, and damage inflicted on historic and cultural sites.[199]

An open letter from "city resident" Qin Zizhuang, dating from the summer of 1923, while construction was in progress, captures the flavor and complexity of the emerging civic and urban consciousness Hu Shi was advocating. Qin begins by sarcastically observing that Beijing is developing streetcars at the very moment cities in Europe and North America are abandoning theirs in favor of buses. However much urban consciousness owed to late imperial civic activism, shimin status by the 1920s included an awareness of how city life in China compared to conditions in the larger, global world of cities. Stepping into that world, if only rhetorically, lent critical force to statements of urban concern.

The brunt of Qin's argument against the streetcar was directed against the aesthetic and cultural damage the utility promised to inflict on Beijing, and it is framed by Beijing's ambitions as a world city, ambitions presumably shared by developers of the streetcar and city officials. Qin appealed for a balance between progress and preservation: "Please note that in the future the streetcars will run from Tiananmen out to Xidan and Dongdan Arches and from Tiananmen to Tianqiao. This will wipe out the historical and cultural edifice of Tiananmen in its entirety and cause the heritage of hundreds of years to be cut off and scattered in a moment for the sake of the greed of a few. If we consider the capital cities of other countries, we see that they all have one or two magnificent avenues for natives and foreigners to stroll upon for purposes of edification, like the Champs Elysees in Paris, Unter den Linden in Berlin, and Wellington Street [sic] in London." Allowing Beijing "to be covered by the streetcar company's sprawling mess of poles and lines" would ruin the "clean" lines of the city for future generations. Not doing everything to save Beijing's treasures and vistas would be tantamount to giving in to "personal disgrace, the dying out of one's name, and the destruction of one's country." The people of Beijing would face "the censure of generations of our descendants and the ridicule of foreigners." The logic of this argument drives Qin to embrace his fellow city residents and the category of shimin: "Why not seize the moment and rise up to force negotiations with the company? At the same time, we should unite the shimin to complain to the municipal office and the police with the full force of our opposition and not stop until the [route of the planned] track has been changed. If this company in its perverse pursuit of profit does not adopt

the goodwill of our shimin, we shimin must ourselves make the appropriate response."[200]

On the one hand, Qin's plea that the city's architectural values have the same standing as personal reputation and the survival of family and nation highlights the potential power of the city as an emotive and critical force. While his arguments echo the preservationist sentiments found in Leng Wangu's defense of the city walls in 1912, Qin has found within the modernist reform stance that Leng condemned the grounds for resisting and revising what he saw as bad planning and a poor use of the technologies available globally. Qin's metropolitan sensibility and boosterlike zeal resemble that of the mayor of Lanzhou (and, as Mingzheng Shi reminds us, the Beijing municipal office derided by Qin).[201] On the other hand, the shimin identity assumed and celebrated in this open letter risked coming in a poor fourth behind national, group, and individual values and interests.


Most cities of this period, despite evidence produced by muckraking critics who saw urban concentrations only as corrupt and evil places, had significant supplies of what Robert Putnam has recently described as "social capital" or "features of social organization, such as trust, norms, and networks, that can improve the efficiency of society by facilitating coordinated actions."[202] In Putnam's book on Italian political development, he contrasts the "feudal autocracy" of the Italian south and the "communal republicanism" of the north.[203] The former made the dynamic and progressive rule of a Frederick II possible but also hastened the decay into clientelism and fragmentation when a strong central power was not present. The latter provided community support and direction for civic action and development, projects twentieth-century Chinese would term jianshe. Putting aside the important question of regional differences, Chinese cities of the early twentieth century inherited a late imperial legacy of autocracy that normally pulled its administrative punches (in part by the subtle means of not granting cities special municipal status beyond serving as the centers of larger territorial units) and communal or corporate self-management inclined toward political self-restraint. The balancing act performed by state and city depended on the intermittent exercise of social connections and a stabilizing structure of patronage and clientelism extending through state and society.

The remodeling of the Chinese city through the import of new technologies and organizational forms in the twentieth century presented officials and city people with new opportunities for building from the top down (technocratic and administrative initiatives), the middle out (the realm of fatuan and local elite bodies), or the bottom up (the growth of labor unions and other grassroots organizations). From one point of view, the problems lay in the middle where local elites used modern organizational forms and ideologies to prevent administrators from acting decisively and mobilizing the energies of ordinary people. Chambers of commerce,

designed to promote growth and reform (and often willing to act on that mandate), just as often tended to function like brakes on municipal reform rather than as engines of civic leadership. But if one is not handed the wheel through democratic enfranchisement, perhaps the brake of passive resistance and retreat is the next best mechanism to take hold of. City people then had to choose between imperious, somewhat alien (or actually foreign) technocrats and bureaucrats, more familiar and often conservative leaders of the circle their group was nested in, and radical activists who typically lacked both administrative and social power.

In order for social capital to be actually spent on civic endeavors, the catalytic or mediating influence of a Zhang Zhidong in Hankou, Zuo Zongtang or Cai Mengjian in Lanzhou, or Zhang Jian in Nantong was extremely important. These leaders helped integrate the pivotal middle level of elites into projects and tap resources available in higher-level administrative budgets or more distant metropolitan centers. Without such leadership, the power, wealth, and status available to support development might remain dormant or devoted solely to private or corporate enterprise.

Such projects were often pursued in a spirit of boosterism. Cai and Zhang Jian were heir to a tradition of localism that celebrated everything from tasty hams and fine pottery to beauty spots, pilgrimage sites, virtuous widows, and brilliant scholars. The test of a locale's value was measured in recognition accorded by elite consumers and imperial edict. The early twentieth century found new standards in the form of production figures, bacteria counts taken from water sources, the size of membership rolls, numbers of tourists, and recognition of a city, building, or person as a national model. As one travels around China today, at the turn of another century, and samples local beers and other liquors touted as superior to those of a neighboring county or province, visits newly developed theme parks and warm-spring resorts, tours sausage plants and pottery factories run as township and village enterprises, and talks to local officials and entrepreneurs about their dreams and schemes for development, echoes of Lanzhou as garden city or Nantong as a little Shanghai are clear and insistent. Broad participation in China's development has long been more than a matter of state control or popular protest. One could become Chinese in the modern sense by joining a demonstration or a party, but also by training for a profession, opening a local museum, or marketing a local resource. These latter, more local and pluralistic enterprises should not be equated with democracy or a localism invariably hostile to national authority. But they do comprise sites where social capital can be invested in ways that foster diversity, criticism, and a measure of autonomy.

In tracing the distribution of technical and institutional modernity, we can with some confidence identify the component parts of an urban China reorienting itself around a recognizably modern city of offices, factories, movie theaters, and public parks. But it is also clear that the more complex reality of urban—and rural—life "away from Nanking Road," Tiananmen, and the iron bridge at Lanzhou

needs to be brought into the picture of a developing and decaying urban China.[204] Brave words about garden cities and municipal reconstruction and an impressive collection of new machines and technologies held the high ground of discourse and policy. If the words often rang hollow and the machines sometimes rusted from disuse (or were broken by Luddite rivals), the pattern of development and the pressure for local progress on a national scale endured. Of course, most people still lived in the countryside. But even rural people came to be judged by urban standards of health, productivity, political activism, and knowledge about the world. Most people who finally "became Chinese" were not urbanites. But if they acquired elements of their modern Chineseness by joining a mass organization or militia, learning a propaganda song, pursuing a marriage based on love, buying a national brand of cigarettes, or brushing their teeth as a matter of personal hygiene, the point of origin for such behavior was likely to be someplace like Shanghai or Lanzhou, if not Paris or Tokyo. The process of making such actions and ideas parts of a Chinese identity as adopted values or hybrid constructs traversed a shifting topography of places high and low.


1. Xu Xueli, "Tuo ling dingdong yundilai—Lanzhou minjian yunshu shilue" (The tinkling sound of camel bells—an outline history of indigenous forms of shipping in Lanzhou), Xibei shidi (Historical geography of the northwest) 3 (1989): 100. A mid-seventeenth-century magistrate listed dangerous or impassable roads as one of the area's major shortcomings. [BACK]

2. Ren Mei'e, "Lanzhou fujin dizhi yanjiu" (An investigation of the topography of Lanzhou and vicinity), Fangzhi yuekan 8, no. 45 (1 April 1935): 18–19. Air connections to Lanzhou were radically curtailed during the war years because of fuel shortages. Lanzhou shizheng yizhounian (A year in Lanzhou municipality: July 1941–June 1942), vol. 1 (Lanzhou: Lanzhou shizhengfu mishu chubian, 1942), 10. [BACK]

3. Ren Mei'e, "Lanzhou fujin dizhi yanjiu," 19. [BACK]

4. Sherman Cochran and Andrew C. K. Hsieh, with Janis Cochran, trans., eds., and intro., One Day in China: May 21, 1936 (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1983), 178. [BACK]

5. Ibid., 179. [BACK]

6. Ibid. Qian's point may also have been that religious practice was just as tainted by commerce and devoid of devotion in Lanzhou as in Shanghai. The editors of One Day in China note that the general purpose of reportage on religious activities was to expose the follies of "superstition," although not all the entries are aggressively antireligious in this sense (141). Qian is content to underline the recreational and mercenary motivations of festivalgoers. He seems more interested in mocking provincialism than in attacking popular religion. [BACK]

7. Yao Yiyun, Jing Hu lu luxing zhinan (A Nanjing-Shanghai Road travel guide) (Shanghai: Shijie chuban hezuoshe, 1933). However, in some cases building modern roads had little impact on interurban commerce because of a shortage of trucks and the attempts to prevent old-style carts from using (and damaging) pavement. William T. Rowe, "Wuhan and Its Region, 1736–1938" (paper presented at conference on "The Chinese Metropolis in the XXth Century," Lyon, 5–7 May 1993), 21. [BACK]


8. Wang Wang, ed., Xin Xi'an (New Xian) (Shanghai: Zhonghua shuju, 1940), 67–68. [BACK]

9. Zhou Yirang, "Wuhan sanzhen zhi xianzai ji qi jianglai" (The three Wuhan cities and their future), Dongfang zazhi (hereafter DFZZ) 21, no. 5 (10 March 1924): 70. [BACK]

10. The line was finally completed in the late 1940s. (Rowe, "Wuhan," 19–20.) [BACK]

11. Year in Lanzhou Municipality, 2:126–32. [BACK]

12. Xu Xueli, "Tuo ling dingdong yundilai," 101. [BACK]

13. Liao Kaitao, ed., Lanzhou (Taibei: Zhengzhong shuju, 1957). The recorded population grew from 57,846 in 1937 to 156,948 (pp. 28, 44). [BACK]

14. Year in Lanzhou Municipality, 1:131. [BACK]

15. Ibid. [BACK]

16. Ibid., 2:2–3. [BACK]

17. Gansu minguo ribao, 16 March 1942, p. 3; Year in Lanzhou Municipality, 1:23–24, 2:11–13. [BACK]

18. Year in Lanzhou Municipality, 2:1–2. [BACK]

19. Liu Jingkun and Fu Bing, "Minguo shiqi de shoudu, peidu yu xingdu" (Capitals, secondary capitals, and administrative capitals during the Republican era), Minguo dangan, no. 1 (1994): 114–17. [BACK]

20. Zhang Qiyun, "Zhongguo zhi guodu wenti" (The question of China's capital), DFZZ 24, no. 9 (10 May 1927): 5–6. [BACK]

21. Zhou Yirang, "Wuhan sanzhen zhi xianzai ji qi jianglai," 81. [BACK]

22. Zhang Ji (from Hebei) and Yu Zuoren (Shaanxi) pressed for Beijing. Southerners had the advantage of Nanjing's having been Sun Yatsen's choice. Liu Jingkun and Fu Bing, "Minguo shiqi de shoudu, peidu yu xingdu," 117. [BACK]

23. Chen Cheng, a Zhejiang native who had served in military and civilian posts charged with the defense of Wuhan, proposed Wuhan. Shanxi native Liu Guanxun advocated Xi'an. Geologist Weng Wenhao (Zhejiang) suggested Jinan (ibid.). [BACK]

24. Cycles of boom and decline are intrinsic to G. William Skinner's theory of independent macroregion development. Skinner, ed., The City in Late Imperial China (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1977). A vivid example of a city caught in successive periods of turbulence can be found in Antonia Finnane, "Yangzhou: A Central Place in the Qing Empire," in Cities of Jiangnan in Late Imperial China, ed. Linda Cooke Johnson (Albany: State University of New York Press, 1993). See also Rowe on the ups and downs of middle Yangzi cities like Yichang, Changsha, Shashi, and Xiangtan. Rowe, "Wuhan," 18–19. [BACK]

25. Xinxing de gongye chengshi—Lanzhou (A developing industrial city—Lanzhou) (Lanzhou: Gansu renmin chubanshe, 1987), 13. [BACK]

26. Year in Lanzhou Municipality, 1:22; Pan Yimin, Lanzhou zhi gongshangye yu jinrong (Industry, commerce, and banking in Lanzhou) (Shanghai: Shangwu yinshuguan, 1936), 5. [BACK]

27. Pan Yimin, Lanzhou, 3–4; Year in Lanzhou Municipality, 2:12–13. [BACK]

28. Pan Yimin, Lanzhou, 7. [BACK]

29. Ren Mei'e, "Lanzhou fujin dizhi yanjiu," 7. [BACK]

30. Xuan Bo [pseud.], "Qingdao," Guowen zhoubao 2, no. 46 (29 November 1925): 5. [BACK]

31. Pan Yimin, Lanzhou, 3. [BACK]

32. Ibid., 1. [BACK]

33. Ibid., 23. [BACK]

34. Ren Mei'e, "Lanzhou fujin dizhi yanjiu," 14–15. [BACK]

35. Developing Industrial City, 12. This source and Ren Mei'e date the factory founding at 1875 and 1877, respectively (Ren Mei'e, "Lanzhou fujin dizhi yanjiu," 14). [BACK]

36. Ren Mei'e, "Lanzhou fujin dizhi yanjiu," 14. [BACK]


37. Developing Industrial City, 12; Ren Mei'e, "Lanzhou fujin dizhi yanjiu," 14–15. [BACK]

38. Ren Mei'e, "Lanzhou fujin dizhi yanjiu," 15. [BACK]

39. Ibid., 8. [BACK]

40. Ibid., 19. [BACK]

41. Year in Lanzhou Municipality, 1:11. [BACK]

42. Clifton Pannell, "Recent Growth and Change in China's Urban System," in Urban Development in Modern China, ed. Lawrence J. C. Ma and Edward W. Hanten (Boulder: Westview, 1981), 98. [BACK]

43. See for example William T. Rowe, Hankow: Commerce and Society in a Chinese City (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1984); Lyman P. Van Slyke, "Merchants, Commerce, and Products on the Move," in Yangtze: Nature, History, and the River (New York: Addison-Wesley, 1988); and Thomas G. Rawski, Economic Growth in Prewar China (Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press, 1989). [BACK]

44. Lucian W. Pye, foreword in Shanghai: Revolution and Development in an Asian Metropolis, ed. Christopher Howe (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1981), xv. [BACK]

45. Cheng Guangyu, Zhongguo dushi (Chinese cities) (Taibei: Zhongguo wenhua chubanshe, 1953), 24. [BACK]

46. Susan Mann, "Urbanization and Historical Change in China," Modern China 10, no. 1 (January 1984): 83. [BACK]

47. Ibid., 84. [BACK]

48. Zhang Qingjun, "Minguo shiqi dushi renkou jiegou fenxi" (An analysis of the structure of urban population during the Republican period), Minguo dangan, no. 1 (1992): 128. [BACK]

49. Mann, "Urbanization," 84. Emphasis in the original. [BACK]

50. Fang Wenpei, "Sichuan kaocha ji" (An investigative account of Sichuan), Fangzhi yuekan 6, no. 7 (1 July 1933): 3. [BACK]

51. Ren Mei'e, "Lanzhou fujin dizhi yanjiu," 7. [BACK]

52. Zhou Yirang, "Wuhan sanzhen zhi xianzai ji qi jianglai," 79. [BACK]

53. Ren Baitao, "Difang baozhi bianji" (The editing of local newspapers), DFZZ 18, no. 17 (10 September 1921): 98. [BACK]

54. Ibid. [BACK]

55. Cities with other Funu ribao included Changsha and Nanjing (Funu ribao [Tianjin], 12 February 1924, p. 2; 28 March 1924, p. 1). Biographical sketches of Li Zhishan and Deng Yingchao, mentioning their roles in Tianjin women's circles and journalism, can be found in Xu Yuqun, ed., Minguo renwu dazidian (A comprehensive biographical dictionary of the Republic) (Shijiazhuang: Hebei renmin chubanshe, 1991), 285–86 and 1505. [BACK]

56. Funu ribao, 1 January 1924, p. 1; 2 January 1924, p. 2; and 12 February 1924, p. 2. [BACK]

57. For the story of the Baoding Number Two Women's College affair, see Funu ribao, 22 March 1924, p. 1; 24 March 1922, p. 2; 28 March 1924, p. 1; 1 April 1924, p. 3. For the general issue of who should run women's schools, see "Women's Schools and Female School Heads," Funu ribao, 10 March 1924, p. 1. [BACK]

58. Wang Ling, Beijing yu zhouwei chengshi guanxi shi (A history of Beijing and its relations to nearby cities) (Beijing: Yanshan chubanshe, 1988), 135–36. [BACK]

59. Wang Ling also notes that Baoding military academy graduates later become the backbone of the radical Whampoa Academy (ibid.). [BACK]

60. Funu ribao, 22 March 1924, p. 1. Like other women in other cities, the Baoding students were angry at the school's fundamentalist, "revive the ancient" (fugu) attitude. But

they also complained that their teachers were unqualified and could only babble about such topics as economics. [BACK]

61. Wan Shaoyuan, "Shiren zhumun de tushuguan shiye" (Undertaking libraries for the common people), in Minguo shehui daguan (An omnibus of Republican society), ed. Xin Ping, Hu Zhenghao, and Li Xuechang (Fuzhou: Fujian chubanshe, 1991), 954. [BACK]

62. Moshe Lewin, The Gorbachev Phenomenon: An Historical Interpretation (Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press, 1991), 30. [BACK]

63. Olga Lang, Chinese Family and Society (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1946), 78. [BACK]

64. Ibid., 78–79. [BACK]

65. Zhang Qingjun, "Minguo shiqi dushi renkou jiegou fenxi," 134–35. Based on a survey of figures from Nanjing, Shanghai, Beijing, Qingdao, Hankou, and Xi'an, 30.86 percent of men and 60.64 percent of women were illiterate. [BACK]

66. Fang Wenpei, "Sichuan kaocha ji," 3. [BACK]

67. Xuan Bo, "Qingdao," 21. [BACK]

68. Lanzhou daxue xiaoshi (A short history of Lanzhou University) (Lanzhou: Gansu renmin chubanshe, 1990), 9. The conduit for these ideas seems to have been a magazine entitled Xin Long (New Gansu), which was published in Beijing by Lanzhou students resident in the capital, and sent back home to be read by college and middle-school students. [BACK]

69. Rhoads Murphey, The Outsiders: The Western Experience in India and China (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 1977). [BACK]

70. Rowe, "Wuhan," 31. For a Shashi perspective on the problems associated with building an industrial base against the grain, see Wang Kaibing, ed., Luetan chengshi jingji fazhan lue (On urban economic development strategies) (Wuhan: Hubei renmin chubanshe, 1990), 17. [BACK]

71. Tang Wenqi and Lin Gang, "Shilun 1927–1937 nian Nanjing chengshi jingji fazhan yu noncun fudi zhi guanxi" (A discussion of the relationship between urban economic development in Nanjing and the rural hinterland, 1927–1937), Minguo dangan, no. 2 (1987): 87. A Reconstruction Commission found 847 industrial firms in the city in 1934 in a tally that included handicraft factories and small firms. Only 18 factories met the stricter definition of gongchang used by the Social Welfare Bureau in a 1935 industrial survey. [BACK]

72. The folklorist Tao Xingzhi used the term in a critical sense. This is discussed in Hung Changtai, Going to the People: Chinese Intellectuals and Folk Literature, 1918–1937 (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1985), 14. [BACK]

73. Lang, Chinese Family, 80. [BACK]

74. Hanchao Lu, "Away from Nanking Road: Small Stores and Neighborhood Life in Modern Shanghai," Journal of Asian Studies 53, no. 4 (November 1994). [BACK]

75. For example, in Africa, despite selfconscious efforts by Europeans to make urban centers "bastion cities" they could "claim to dominate, set apart from the mysterious and dangerous bush," "Africans did as much to ruralize the city as Europeans did to urbanize the countryside. Africans would try to mold urban life to their own ways and in their own neighborhoods." Frederick Cooper, "African Urbanization," in Peter N. Stearns, Encyclopedia of Social History (New York: Garland, 1994), 22. [BACK]

76. Zhou Yirang, "Wuhan sanzhen zhi xianzai ji qi jianglai," 75. [BACK]

77. Chen Zhenyi, "Da Shanghai jianshe ce" (The greater Shanghai reconstruction plan), DFZZ 23, no. 18 (September 1926): 10. The article acknowledged that Qingdao in turn had received its excellent harbor plan from Germany. [BACK]

78. Wang Ling, Beijing, 108–10. [BACK]

79. Ibid., 110. [BACK]


80. The theme of decadence and development is explored in David Strand, "Decadence et modernization: Groupes sociaux et action politique a Pekin au debut du XXe siecle," in Les Metropoles chinoises au XXe siecle, ed. Christian Henriot and Alain Delissen (Paris: Editions Arguments, 1995), 32–47. [BACK]

81. Lao She, Luotou Xiangzi (Camel Xiangzi) (Hong Kong: Yuelin youxian gongsi, n.d.), 306–7. [BACK]

82. Dong Xiujia, Guomin jingji jianshe zhi tujing (Avenues of national economic reconstruction) (Shanghai: Shenghuo shudian, 1936), 168. [BACK]

83. One sign of the level of academic and governmental interest in the city as an administrative unit can be found in Lu Danlin, ed., Shizheng quanshu (A complete handbook of municipal government) (Shanghai: Daolu yuekan she, 1931). The volume collects essays published elsewhere by municipal reformers like Dong Xiujia and others and reports on municipal reform efforts in a dozen cities as large as Shanghai and as small as Nanchang and Wuzhou. For Dong's career in municipal affairs as an official and writer, see Xu Yuqun, ed., Minguo renwu dacidian (A comprehensive biographical dictionary of Republican China), 1273. Prior to holding teaching and government positions in China, Dong studied municipal economics and government in the United States. [BACK]

84. Lu Weizhen, "Shihua buyi" (An addenda on city flowers), DFZZ 27, no. 11 (10 June 1930): 87–90. [BACK]

85. A Short History of Lanzhou University. Upon news of the abdication of the Manchu monarch in February 1912, "several members of Gansu educational circles" affiliated with the college demanded that the loyalist Shaan-Gan governor-general proclaim a republic, cease military action designed to maintain the Qing, and start using a Republican "reign title" (nianhao) and a Western calendar (6). [BACK]

86. Ibid. For example, a graduate of the college met Sun Yatsen in Guangzhou in 1917 and accepted Sun's charge to return to Lanzhou and spark participation in the "Constitution Protection Movement" Sun was engaged in leading. [BACK]

87. For the classic statement of an urban-rural gap growing in the 1920s, 1930s, and 1940s, see Fei Hsiaot'ung, China's Gentry: Essays on Rural-Urban Relations (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1953). Rowe speculates that this gap represented a sharp break with late-imperial and early-twentieth-century patterns of economic exchange and reciprocity and may have been more the result of political disorder and failure than a consequence of urbanization. Rowe, "Wuhan." [BACK]

88. Mann, "Urbanization," 94–107. [BACK]

89. Dong Xiujia, "Tianyuan xinshi yu woguo shizheng" (Garden cities and municipal government in China), DFZZ 22, no. 11 (10 June 1925): 44. [BACK]

90. This is Chen Duxiu's summary of criticisms related to him by a friend, in Chen, "Beijing shida tese" (Ten outstanding features of Beijing), in Beijing hu: xiandai zuojia bixia de Beijing (Beijing in the words of modern writers), ed. Jiang Deming, vol. 1 (Beijing: Sanlian shudian, 1992), 4 (dated 1 June 1919). [BACK]

91. Xuan Bo, "Qingdao," 6. [BACK]

92. For a comparative perspective on the "city as export," see Mark Girouard, Cities and People: A Social and Architectural History (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1985), chapter 11. [BACK]

93. Gansu minguo ribao, 1 July 1941, p. 1. [BACK]

94. Gansu minguo ribao, 8 April 1942, p. 3. [BACK]

95. See, for example, Kristin Stapleton's discussion of reforms carried out in 1920s Chengdu under the auspices of the warlord Yang Sen: "In the 1920's, new visions of urban

organization and culture developing in eastern China found supporters among a younger generation of Chengdu elites, who briefly looked to Yang Sen as their champion." Stapleton, "Yang Sen in Chengdu: Urban Planning in the Interior," in Constructing the Modern in Chinese Cities, 1900–1950, ed. Joseph W. Esherick (Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press, 1999). [BACK]

96. As Lanzhou officials knew. For official statements about the importance of reform in garbage collection, the cleaning of public toilets, and the like, see Gansu minguo ribao, 17 February 1942, p. 4. [BACK]

97. For a broader appreciation of the urban-rural connections involved in nightsoil collection, see Andrew Morris, "Fight for Fertilizer!: Excrement, Public Health, and Mobilization in New China," Journal of Unconventional History (May 1995). [BACK]

98. Zang Qifang, "Shizheng he cujin shizheng zhi fangfa" (Municipal government and methods of advancing municipal government), in Shizheng quanshu (A complete handbook on municipal government), ed. Lu Danlin (Shanghai: Daolu yuekan, 1931), 44–45. [BACK]

99. Chen Duxiu, "Beijing shida tese," 4. [BACK]

100. Zhou Yirang, "Wuhan sanzhen zhi xianzai ji qi jianglai," 77. [BACK]

101. Ibid. [BACK]

102. Xuan Bo, Guowen zhoubao 2, no. 49 (20 December 1925): 19. [BACK]

103. Changtai Hung, Going to the People: Chinese Intellectuals and Folk Literature, 1918–1937 (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1985), 14. [BACK]

104. Zang Qifang, "Shizheng he cujin shizheng zhi fangfa," 45. Zang was particularly angry not only that were these activities permitted but that they were taxed to support the operations of government. [BACK]

105. Ernest P. Young, "Problems of a Late Ch'ing Revolutionary: Ch'en T'ien-hua," in Revolutionary Leaders of Modern China, ed. Chun-tu Hsueh (New York: Oxford University Press, 1971), 227. [BACK]

106. Jian Hu, "Dushi shenghuo zhi meihua" (The beautification of metropolitan life), DFZZ 18, no. 2 (25 April 1925): 1–2. [BACK]

107. Zhongguo yuebao 3, no. 1 (1 January 1935). [BACK]

108. Quoted in Frederic Wakeman, Policing Shanghai, 1927–1937 (Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press, 1995), 11–12. [BACK]

109. Yi Jiayue, cited and discussed in Mann, "Urbanization," 99. [BACK]

110. Gansu minguo ribao, 3 July 1941, p. 5. [BACK]

111. Gu Duilu, "Zhongguo shizhi gaiguan" (General survey of the Chinese municipal system), DFZZ 26, no. 17 (10 September 1929): 33. [BACK]

112. Dong Xiujia, Guomin jingji jianshe zhi tujing, 3. [BACK]

113. Ibid., 159. [BACK]

114. Ibid., 161. [BACK]

115. Hu Shi, preface no. 3 to Shizheng juyao (Essentials of municipal government), by Bai Dunyong (Shanghai: Dadong shudian, 1931), 1. [BACK]

116. The scholar Qu Xuanying, writing in 1930, cited by Mann, "Urbanization," 88. [BACK]

117. Zhou Yirang, "Wuhan sanzhen zhi xianzai ji qi jianglai," 75. See also Rowe, "Wuhan," 12, for a discussion of factors leading to "overnight industrialization" in the Wuhan cities. [BACK]

118. Qin Shao, "Making Political Culture—the Case of Nantong, 1894–1930" (Ph.D. diss., Michigan State University, 1994). [BACK]

119. Xu Xueli, "Tuo ling dingdong yundilai," 100. [BACK]


120. A Year in Lanzhou Municipality, 1:11–12. The rubber tires persuaded officials to permit the carts to use modern roads, an important concession since iron-wheeled carts were banned and fuel for trucks and cars was in chronic short supply during the war years. [BACK]

121. For the impact of the New Policies on Beijing, see Mingzheng Shi, "Corporate Interest or Public Good: Public Utility Companies of Early 20th Century Beijing" (paper presented at AAS annual meeting, Chicago, 6–9 April 1995). [BACK]

122. Wang Wang, Xin Xi'an, 27. [BACK]

123. Yu Heping, Shanghui yu Zhongguo zaoqi xiandaihua (Chambers of commerce and China's early modernization) (Shanghai: Shanghai renmin chubanshe, 1993), 23–25, 75–76, 202–3. Yu emphasizes both the importance of the xinzheng reforms in stimulating chamber development. [BACK]

124. Dong Xiujia, Guomin jingji jianshe zhi tujing, 170. [BACK]

125. Ibid., 174. [BACK]

126. Edward Bing-Shuey Lee, Modern Canton (Shanghai: Mercury Press, 1936), v. [BACK]

127. Gansu minguo ribao, 2 July 1942, p. 3. [BACK]

128. Liu Gengsheng, "Zhou Xuexi yu jingshi zilaishui shiye" (Zhou Xuexi and the metropolitan waterworks business), Beijing dangan shiliao, no. 2 (1987–1988): 69. [BACK]

129. See Rowe's account of the building of the Hankou city wall in 1862–64. Rowe, Hankow: Conflict and Community in a Chinese City, 1796–1895 (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1989), 293–94. Rowe concludes that "the state did retain the power of eminent domain, enabling it to condemn and acquire property earmarked for public purposes, for which it usually compensated the owner at a negotiated price" (66). [BACK]

130. This sentiment can be found, for example, in Simon Leys (Pierre Ryckmans), Chinese Shadows (New York: Viking, 1977), 57–60. Ryckmans further traces this modernist fury to a deeper atavism. [BACK]

131. These plans were reportedly made in 1910. See Naito Konan, "Constitutional Government in China," in "Naito Konan and the Development of the Conception of Modernity in Chinese History," ed. and trans. Joshua Fogel, Chinese Studies in History 17, no. 1 (fall 1983): 61. [BACK]

132. Leng Wangu, "Beijing cheng wanbuke chai" (Beijing's walls must not be torn down), Aiguo bao (Beijing), 8 September 1912, p. 1. [BACK]

133. Lee, Modern Canton, 13–14. [BACK]

134. Ibid., 19. The municipal authorities acted "against the will of narrow-visioned capitalists…reluctant to see their property destroyed." [BACK]

135. Dong Xiujia, Guomin jingji jianshe zhi tujing, 171. [BACK]

136. Bian Nofu, "Nanjing gaikuang" (Survey of Nanjing), Xiangdao zhoubao 153 (15 May 1926): 1467. [BACK]

137. Dong Xiujia, Guomin jingji jianshe zhi tujing, 171–72, 179. [BACK]

138. Ibid., 172, 174. [BACK]

139. Ibid., 173. [BACK]

140. Kristin Stapleton, "Police Reform in a Late-Imperial Chinese City: Chengdu, 1902–1911" (Ph.D. diss., Harvard University, 1993), 149–50, 196. [BACK]

141. David Strand, Rickshaw Beijing: City People and Politics in the 1920s (Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press, 1989), 96. [BACK]

142. Gansu minguo ribao, 2 July 1942, p. 3. The point was made in a speech by a local GMD official. [BACK]

143. Dong Xiujia, Guomin jingji jianshe zhi tujing, 176 and 182. [BACK]


144. Zang Qifang, "Shizheng he cujin shizheng zhi fangfa," 44. Mann also emphasizes this point ("Urbanization," 91). [BACK]

145. Yang Lihui, "Yantai diaocha" (Investigation of Yantai), DFZZ 21, no. 12 (25 June 1924): 81. [BACK]

146. Leng Wangu, "Beijing," 2. [BACK]

147. Christian Henriot, Shanghai, 1927–1937: Municipal Power, Locality, and Modernization (Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press, 1993), 160. In this case the Shanghai Butchers Guild accepted the new tax system when it was allowed to keep control of a general welfare fund for members. [BACK]

148. This is a major theme in Henriot, Shanghai. [BACK]

149. Ibid., 36. [BACK]

150. Hans J. Van De Ven, From Friend to Comrade: The Founding of the Chinese Communist Party, 1920–1927 (Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press, 1991), 10. [BACK]

151. Ibid. [BACK]

152. "Shanghai wenti" (The Shanghai question), DFZZ 22, no. 4 (25 February 1925): 6. [BACK]

153. Gu Duilu, "Zhongguo shizhi gaiguan," 34–35. [BACK]

154. Ibid., 36. In 1920 Chen Jiongming, as one might expect, emphasized the importance of independence from central control. [BACK]

155. Ibid., 36–37. [BACK]

156. Ibid., 39. [BACK]

157. Bai Dunyong, Shizheng juyao (Essentials of municipal government) (Shanghai: Dadong shudian, 1931), 12. [BACK]

158. Dong Xiujia, "Zhongguo shizhi zhi jinjing" (Frontiers of municipal government) in Shizheng quanshu, ed. Lu Danlin (Shanghai: Daolu yuekan she, 1931), 105. [BACK]

159. Ibid., 106. [BACK]

160. Henriot, Shanghai, 35. [BACK]

161. Lu Weizhen, "Shihua buyi," 89–90. [BACK]

162. Yi Guan, "Quanguo shanghui zhi xiankuang yu jianglai zhi xiwang" (The condition and future prospects of chambers of commerce throughout the country), DFZZ 16, no. 3 (March 1919): 219. [BACK]

163. Ibid.; Yu Heping, Shanghui yu Zhongguo zaoqi xiandaihua, 75–76. [BACK]

164. Yu Heping, Shanghui yu Zhongguo zaoqi xiandaihua, 220. [BACK]

165. Qin Shao, "Making Political Culture," 107. [BACK]

166. Gansu minguo ribao, 16 March 1942, p. 3. The Lanzhou chamber contributed a hundred thousand dollars to reconstruction efforts at a time when there was only fifty to sixty thousand in the municipal government's budget for such projects. [BACK]

167. Yu Heping, Shanghui yu Zhongguo zaoqi xiandaihua, 25. [BACK]

168. Ibid., 23. [BACK]

169. Ibid., 98. [BACK]

170. Ibid. [BACK]

171. Ibid., 100–108. [BACK]

172. Ibid., 107. The journal was entitled the Chinese Merchant Federation Magazine (Huashang lianhe bao). [BACK]

173. Ibid., 184. A candidate from Gaoyang county in Zhili was defeated by the president of the Wuchang chamber. The Gaoyang and northern faction tried to overturn the results but were defeated by threats of nationwide denunciation (through circular telegrams) of alleged corrupt practices by representatives from Shanghai and Hankou. [BACK]


174. Ibid., 89. [BACK]

175. For an extended discussion of this tendency toward escalating (and sometimes deescalating) scales of organization, see David Strand, "Changing Dimensions of Social and Public Life in Early Twentieth Century Chinese Cities," in La societe civile face a l'Etat: Dans les traditions chinoise, japonaise, coreene et vietnamienne, ed. Leon Vandermeersch (Paris: Ecole Francaise d'Extreme-Orient, 1994). [BACK]

176. Yu Heping, Shanghui yu Zhongguo zaoqi xiandaihua, 89. [BACK]

177. David Strand, "Historical Perspectives," in Urban Spaces in Contemporary China: The Potential for Autonomy and Community in Post-Mao China, ed. Deborah S. Davis, Richard Kraus, Barry Naughton, and Elizabeth J. Perry (New York: Cambridge University Press, 1995). [BACK]

178. See Rowe, Hankow, on guild federations in Hankou. [BACK]

179. Yu Heping, Shanghui yu Zhongguo zaoqi xiandaihua, 158–72. Yu acknowledges that many guilds were oligarchic and exclusive (along the lines of class or hometown affiliation) but argues that the general trend in chamber and guild development was toward greater democracy and inclusiveness. [BACK]

180. Byrna Goodman, "New Culture, Old Habits: Native-Place Organization and the May Fourth Movement," in Shanghai Sojourners, ed. Frederic Wakeman and Wen-hsin Yeh (Berkeley: Institute of East Asian Studies, 1992), 83. [BACK]

181. Wu Zhezheng, "Huiguan," in Beijing wangshi tan (Talks on past events in Beijing) (Beijing: Beijing chubanshe, 1988), 88. [BACK]

182. Yu Heping, Shanghui yu Zhongguo zaoqi xiandaihua, 280–302. For example, many chambers supported Yuan against the Nationalists in the "Second Revolution" of 1913. [BACK]

183. Ibid., 382. [BACK]

184. Ibid. [BACK]

185. Bian Nofu, "Nanjing gaikuang," 1468. [BACK]

186. "Nanjing tongxin" (Letter from Nanjing), Xiangdao zhoubao 60 (26 March 1924): 482. [BACK]

187. Henriot, Shanghai, 58–59. [BACK]

188. Robert A. Dahl, Who Governs?: Democracy and Power in an American City (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1961), 122–24. [BACK]

189. Henriot, Shanghai, 60–61. [BACK]

190. Dong Xiujia, Guomin jingji jianshe zhi tujing, 183. Dong praised the Chinese Shanghai government for its efforts in this area of limited consultation. [BACK]

191. Stapleton, "Police Reform," 325. [BACK]

192. Zhou Junqi, "Guanyu jindai quyu chengshi xitong yanjiu de jige wenti" (Some problems in the study of regional urban systems in the modern period), Tianjin shehui kexue, no. 5 (1994): 107. [BACK]

193. See Goodman, The Native-Place, the City and the Nation: Social Organization and Regional Identity in Shanghai (Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press, 1995). [BACK]

194. Hu Shi, preface no. 3, 2. [BACK]

195. Ibid. [BACK]

196. Goodman, "Expansive Practices: Charity, Modern Enterprise, the City and the State," chap. 4 in Native-Place. [BACK]

197. Strand, "City People under Siege," chap. 9 in Rickshaw Beijing. The record of Beijing suggests, however, that this protective reaction required the active leadership of local elites to be effective. [BACK]

198. "Beijing Shimin Oppose Moving the Capital to Nanjing," Yishibao, 30 June 1928, p. 7. [BACK]


199. Beijing dianche gongsi dangan shiliao (Historical materials from the Beijing Streetcar Company archive) (Beijing: Beijing yanshan chubanshe, 1989), 100–101, 118–19. See also Strand, Rickshaw Beijing, chap. 6. [BACK]

200. Beijing dianche gongsi dangan shiliao, 118–19. [BACK]

201. Mingzheng Shi, "Corporate Interest." [BACK]

202. Robert Putnam, Making Democracy Work: Civic Traditions in Modern Italy (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1993), 167. Putnam cites James Coleman's use of the term "social capital." [BACK]

203. Ibid., 130. [BACK]

204. See again Hanchao Lu's "Away from Nanking Road." [BACK]

previous chapter
"A High Place Is No Better Than a Low Place"
next chapter