Thursday, January 3, 2013

Changsha and Hunan political wars

Today I will let you know about political wars in Chansgha and Hunan.

But first I want to say that this article is based on my personal understanding, knowledge and opinion. I hope it won't hurt anyone and I am certainly not accusing anyone.

Let's look at Changsha map. Maps tell a lot.
This is true at a national level but also at a local level.

In the north you find Changsha Municipal Government
In the south you find Hunan Provincial Government

The new Municipal and Provincial administrations are far away from each other

Back in 2006, these administrations were located in Changsha city center as shown with a small star.
It was of course very convenient.
When you open and manage a company you should always deal with many different administrations: health, local taxes, national taxes, commercial administrations... You should then run from one side of the city to the other side. It will costs you a lot of energy and time.

Chinese politics
Chinese politics are very complex.
When you work for some administration you belong to a higher entity and this entity belongs to another higher entity which itself belongs to a higher entity... At the top you find the central government.
At all levels, individuals take side and choose their camp, make alliance if they want to grow: Beijing/ Shanghai/ Hunan Province/ Changsha city/ Zhuzhou city/ the office of.../ the office of...

Something like a feudal system:

Changsha, Zhuzhou, Xiangtan: a new entity
Changsha will merge with its two neighbouring cities: Zhuzhou and Xiangtan.
There has been talk about this for years... decades: 15, 20 years? or more?

This process in slow of course and has been a long battle:

  • On one side Changsha city and the mayor. What is the interest of the mayor? He can become governor of Hunan? He can go to Beijing?
  • On the other side Hunan Province and the Governor. What is the interest of the Governor? He can go to Beijing?
As you can imagine these two entities don't always share the same interests.

In 2007, Hunan Province established the new Provincial administration far in the far south. They wanted to be closer to Zhuzhou and Xiangtan. This would accelerate the fusion Changsha, Xiangtan, Zhuzhou. Changsha city started to grow toward the south.

At the same time Changsha city established the new city administration in the far north. This could keep Changsha city growing to the north...

Many interests at stake
What you need to understand is that behind this conflict you have many interests:

Political interests
Changsha, Zhuzhou, Xiangtan municipalities will have different power... Hunan Province will also play another role. Beijing decentralizes. Politics take side from Changsha, Hunan to Beijing. All office are part of this while they might not always realize it.

Real estate prices will grow depending where the city is due to grow. New roads are built, supermarkets open, housing are built. Some companies get some markets other don't.
It is interesting to note that Changsha city launched a new huge project in order to create "Changsha new city center": farther North of Changsha...

Becoming central China central City?
It is interesting to notice that a similar merger occured in Wuhan. The city also merge with its two neighbours years ago after a painful process and many conflicts. Wuhan thus became the first megalopole in central China and attracted many investors.
Changsha and Wuhan have long "fought" to become the main city in Central China.


  1. examine municipal consolidations in the u.s. for purposes of comparison and in the US there was almost always a vile race card in play such as in Nashville and Indianapolis.

    1. I think in Changsha two aspects:

      1. it goes up to big political fight: for instance mayor takes side with Beijing, governor takes side with, zhuzhou, Xiangtan, Shanghai... Governor wants to reduce the mayor power. The mayor wants...
      Also lot of money involve with real estate...

      2. All must take side: even in a small office you will link up and up to other administrations, cities...

    2. Also in France we have similar: the division of cities in order to help for the elections. Sometimes politics will merge smaller cities if it goes well for their interests.