China is considering creating more provincelevel cities to join the existing quartet of Beijing, Shanghai, Tianjin and Chongqing, said the Financial Times. The move to create more zhixiashi is aimed at increasing the control of the central government in Beijing as well as boosting the economies of the cities, said officials in the Ministry of Civil Affairs. Nanjing, Shenzhen, Shenyang, Dalian, Qingdao and Wuhan were all thought to have either put forward proposals or been considered by the central government. But no officials from these cities were willing to confirm their candidacies.
Beijing is becoming increasingly leery of the waywardness of provincial administrations. "Some of these provincial governments are corrupt from top to bottom," said one ministry policy advisor. "They are more like mafias than anything else."
There are also believed to be economic benefits to empowering cities. Chongqing, the most recently created province-level city, has expanded its economy seven-fold since it was created six years ago. Approval for new province-level cities is thought to be unlikely before the National People's Congress due to be held in March next year.