A Chinese centre of the world? Jing Jin Ji and the remaking of Beijing
FR : Commission nationale du débat public
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1st lines: The China of Xi Jing Ping is on course to become the first economic power of the world, overtaking the US around 2040 according to their own previsions. In parallel, Chinese leadership is massively investing in the upgrading and development of its army and fosters its political influence all over the globe, mostly through investments and political pressure. In many public occasions, Chinese leaders have expressed the view that the balance of power and influence was coming back to normal. The old state of China had been the most developed part of the world including many technical advances and sophisticated government more or less until the 12th century. The rise of Europe was explained by the success of the first capitalism of merchants, the cities, economic innovation and the slow making of the nation state. Seen from China, this cycle of extraordinary events, centuries of domination of Europe, then the US, is drawing to a close. Back to normal. China will become the centre of the world. The silk road initiative bears testimony of this attempt at global influence. In the eyes of Chinese leaders, therefore, the future capital or most prestigious city of the world should also be in China, hence the project of developing Jing-Jin-Ji, the urban region around Beijing as the most advanced urban region in the world that should attract flux of investments, visitors and radiate Chinese power. Beijing has come a long way. During the Maoist period, Chinese leaders tried to limit urbanization and demographic growth and all the emphasis was on industrialization and the making of the socialist city. With the coming age of market reforms pioneered under Deng Xiaoping, liberalization reforms paved the way for the stunning acceleration of urbanization, including in Beijing. Chinese cities were very much planned but as elsewhere, planning was only part of the story and planning failures were numerous. In the last fifteen years, the Chinese government has implemented a voluntarist regional policy aiming both at rebalancing economic growth on the western side of the country (hence the massive investment in Chongqing now 30 M inhabitants or Chengdu, 15 M) but also to reinforce the world influence of the three leading urban regions : Beijing, Shanghai and the Yangtze Delta (towards 100 M?). On top of those, the national urban policy is planning 15 metropolis or 15 Million inhabitants. The paper deals with the attempt to build a Chinese capital of the world, the combination of different modes of what seems to be a good city in a systematic way and the contradictions that arise.