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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.

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