Shang­hai should be ‘van­guard city’: study

China Daily (Canada) - - FRONT PAGE - By LI YANG

Shang­hai needs to leave peo­ple with ex­tra­or­di­nary mem­o­ries as it pre­pares to be­come a global cen­ter city.

And Shang­hai should con­struct its im­age as a “van­guard city”, said re­searchers in Shang­hai’s global in­flu­ence and im­age pro­gram at Shang­hai Nor­mal Univer­sity (SNU). images im­prove their mar­ketabil­ity and at­trac­tive­ness.

Shang­hai was fa­mous as “a par­adise for ad­ven­tur­ers” be­fore. Some young peo­ple com­pare the city to a “magic cap­i­tal”, in con­trast with Beijing as “em­pire cap­i­tal”. Many Shang­hai cit­i­zens do not like the un­cer­tain im­age as­so­ci­ated with the name. Some peo­ple call Shang­hai an “ori­en­tal pearl”. But that name refers to Hong Kong in more cases.

Shang­hai has been a city for 800 years. It be­came an in­ter­na­tional city as re­cently as 170 years ago. Since then, Shang­hai has been one of the most im­por­tant ci­ties in the Far East. But Shang­hai does not have a con­crete city sym­bol or im­age to dis­play its unique­ness.

“Our re­search sug­gests Shang­hai’s city im­age should be de­fined as ‘van­guard city’,” said Gao Jun, pro­fes­sor of tourism stud­ies and the other lead re­searcher for SNU’s pro­gram. “Shang­hai should have the courage to be a leader of trend and in­no­va­tion — the first to try new things, and a lead­ing global cen­ter city.”

Shang­hai has ac­tu­ally been a van­guard city in his­tory. It was the place where Chi­nese farm­ers in­vented ad­vanced cot­ton plant­ing tech­niques, later a na­tional tex­tile cen­ter, and a man­u­fac­tur­ing, fi­nan­cial and trans­porta­tion hub in the Asia-Pa­cific re­gion.

Shang­hai is the cra­dle of the Com­mu­nist Party of China, and an im­por­tant ex­per­i­men­tal field for China’s re­form and open­ing-up since Deng Xiaop­ing’s era in the 1970s. The Pudong new dis­trict and the Shang­hai Free Trade Zone are both sym­bols of Shang­hai’s open­ness and pi­o­neer­ing spirit in press­ing ahead with China’s re­forms.

Pres­i­dent Xi Jin­ping stressed dur­ing his visit to the city in May that Shang­hai must serve as a bell­wether and ex­plorer for China’s re­form and de­vel­op­ment.

As a “van­guard city”, Shang­hai has an im­por­tant role to play in the Silk Road Eco­nomic Belt, the 21st Cen­tury Mar­itime Silk Road and the Yangtze River Eco­nomic Belt projects, three im­por­tant projects pro­posed by Xi’s gov­ern­ment to pro­mote global trade and co­op­er­a­tion and re­gional in­te­gra­tion in China, Gao pointed out.

“To be a van­guard city is not only China’s re­quire­ment for Shang­hai, but also Shang­hai’s re­spon­si­bil­ity to the coun­try,” Gao said.

As a mi­grant city, Shang­hai is in­clu­sive to plu­ral­is­tic cul­tures, wis­dom and in­no­va­tion. The fast-de­vel­op­ing in­no­va­tion in­dus­tries, ad­vanced ser­vice sec­tors, along with the close con­ver­gence of ed­u­ca­tion, re­search and in­dus­tries in Shang­hai un­der­lie the city’s po­ten­tial to be a van­guard city, the re­search re­port con­cluded.

GAO ERQIANG / CHINA DAILY

Mi­grant work­ers build a roof in the Pudong new dis­trict of Shang­hai, which should pur­sue a new im­age as a “van­guard city”, ac­cord­ing to a univer­sity panel.

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