Why, in Gansu province, have cities other than Lanzhou fallen to the status of fifth-tier cities?

The Unseen Struggles of Gansu Province

In Gansu, starting from the provincial capital and extending to all regional centers at various levels, there prevails a consciousness that is intolerant of the well-being of those “below”:

There is an active prevention of development for the “lower” people, as well as a vigilant prevention against any threat they might pose to one’s own status.

Gansu is a poor province. Except for a few cities established due to factories and mines, every area is impoverished, and this has always been the case. However, during a special historical period, Lanzhou, thanks to significant national support, briefly joined the ranks of major cities far surpassing the overall developmental level of Gansu.

Consequently, the sense of superiority among the people of Lanzhou (in Gansu and actually across the country) is exceptionally strong. (You see, when people from Lanzhou talk about the high cost of living — actually referring to high prices — it’s with a sense of superiority rather than frustration.)

The problem arises when the national support stops, and Lanzhou begins to fall back to its original level. The people of Lanzhou are very reluctant to accept this continuous erosion of their pride. Thirty years ago, they proudly compared themselves with Xi’an; twenty years ago, they felt they were undoubtedly better than Urumqi; and now, even Yinchuan seems disrespectful, not to mention Xining, which appears eager to surpass them.

Unable to maintain their relative advantage over other cities and counties in the province through their own development, they can only do so by restricting the development of these areas. This has even led to the creation of a derogatory term, “county people”. And this attitude has spread from the top down.

Sorry, if you go out and see more, you will realize that Lanzhou is also included.

Lanzhou can also be considered as an eighteenth-tier city.

  • The calculation method of urban assets in mercantilism is (tax revenue - liabilities) * 30 = ?

  • This is called “liquidity is king.”

Actually, Lanzhou is also considered a fifth-tier city. The national classification only barely retains its designation as a third-tier city for the sake of supporting Gansu Province.

Confidence, remove the doubts. You can go out and explore. Even if you walk to Baoji, you won’t ask such questions anymore.

If Gansu Province doesn’t exclude Jinwu and Jiujia, they could also be classified as fourth-tier cities. Following the influence of Lanzhou, it’s the helplessness and misfortune of all the people in Gansu.

Jiujia GDP: 1204, Jiujia population: 137, Jiujia per capita: 8.8

Jinwu GDP: 1186, Jinwu population: 188, Jinwu per capita: 6.3

I suggest developing Xigu District into a core city to accelerate its industrial development. Come on, Xigu!

Xigu City GDP: 315.67, Xigu City population: 40.7, Xigu City per capita GDP: 7.75

I’m from a small town in Gansu province, and I spent four years studying in Lanzhou.

Don’t even mention “except Lanzhou”; Lanzhou is the last place in Gansu province I wanted to stay.

So, after graduation, I left immediately.

Lanzhou is a lovely city. I studied there, enjoyed the delicious beef noodles, whether it’s a fifth-tier or a fiftieth-tier city, have you ever cared for the people here, young and old? A broken road, they started digging it when I was a freshman, and damn it, I graduated as a senior, and that road is still being dug up.

From top to bottom, it’s pitch black. While others fatten up the pigs before slaughtering them, in Gansu, they simply catch and kill the pigs. Others engage in farming, but he goes hunting. If it weren’t for his geographical location, he could make it to a bustling city.

That’s because the minimum division for cities is the fifth tier, which is not the bottom line of Gansu Province’s strength.

Don’t worry, Lanzhou will also have a 5G network.

Gain more exposure and think critically! There’s no need to ask others about such straightforward matters.

For example, Pingliang City used to be known as the “Dry Port on the Loess Plateau,” with a constant influx of merchants. Now, it doesn’t even have a high-speed rail connection. Developing under such circumstances is indeed a peculiar phenomenon.

In the case of Qingyang, the fastest-growing economy in Gansu, even today, local residents still feel that China’s largest oil field, Changqing Oilfield, has not paid taxes to Gansu. They confidently believe that the rapid economic development is due to the local feed factories and breeding farms. There seems to be no official rebuttal, and they have simply included the production of Changqing Oilfield in their own political achievements…

Because Gansu, compared to other provinces, does not have any impressive cities to boast of, hence the strong provincial capital strategy was initiated, with resources being tilted accordingly. So, you know, understanding it, right?

Because dividing cities into tiers is nonsense in itself. The so-called first finance and economics magazine is still clinging to this hierarchical society model. Where does the talk of national behavior come from? I didn’t expect so many servile people to worship the stinky feet! No matter how small a city or territory is, it has its own value of existence. We shouldn’t only consider how much money can be made and shouldn’t pursue the money at the cost of dignity. Is the flesh on your body more noble than the flesh on your face? Just because the flesh on your buttocks isn’t in a good position compared to the head, does that mean it should be cut off and discarded?

The Rise and Fall of Lanzhou: Factors Behind its Economic Decline

In the early stages, the inability to develop was a matter of the times. During the period of openness, Lanzhou held a high position in the northwest, but unfortunately, the outflow of talent began during that time.

In the middle stage, it was mainly due to resource imbalances. With the rapid development of the East China region and the expansion of foreign trade, Lanzhou couldn’t even compete in terms of resource allocation, let alone economic growth.

Local officials realized that officials in the east could eat well while those in Lanzhou struggled to even have a meal, as transportation was insufficient. Consequently, the local officials started exploiting their positions. Internal corruption accelerated economic decay.

Now, with a severe economic downturn, people are struggling to have enough to eat. The central government is more focused on stabilizing the hard-won economy in the east, with little time to spare for Lanzhou.

Moreover, Lanzhou’s geographical advantage in the west is a key factor. Whether Lanzhou faces turmoil or not, it depends on the central government’s decision. As long as Lanzhou remains stable and doesn’t cause trouble, that’s already good enough; expecting more is unreasonable.

However, not providing support doesn’t mean abandonment. You are given a new area to manage. If you manage it well, you’ll have some food to eat; if not, you’ll have to find your own way. Under increasing pressure from above, when the county magistrate realizes that tax revenues from Lanzhou haven’t increased since the 1980s, and the people have nothing to give, even bandits are scarce.

The common problem in most underdeveloped provinces is that all the resources are concentrated in the provincial capital.

There’s no way around it.

How many second-tier cities are there in Guizhou? How about Yunnan? The same situation exists in Xinjiang, Tibet, Qinghai, and Ningxia.

Wealthy provinces are not driven by the provincial capital; it’s the second-tier cities with their unique industries. Tangshan and Handan in Hebei have steel production, while Baoding has the automobile and electricity sectors. It’s not Shijiazhuang driving these developments; they are self-made.

Gansu is considered poor, and many just assume they can’t accomplish much on their own. They have to rely on assistance from the provincial government, hoping for some support from above.