Beijing is traditional; Shanghai is modern; and Guangzhou is open. That's how local residents identify the three most famous cities in the Chinese mainland.
According to a survey of 1,232 residents in these cities conducted by DATASEA, a market research company in Beijing, 73 per cent think that the image most representative of Beijing is something traditional, with a long history and strong cultural ambiance.
About 63 per cent describe Shanghai as modern, international and fashionable and 43 per cent view Guangzhou as open.
In this survey, residents identified the most symbolic buildings in their cities of residence as: the Great Wall in Beijing, the Oriental Pearl Tower in Shanghai and the China International Trust and Investment Co (CITIC) Plaza in Guangzhou.
In evaluating their living conditions, 33 per cent of Shanghai residents said they were very satisfied, 53 per cent of Beijing residents were comparatively satisfied and 37 per cent of Guangzhou residents consider their living conditions to be mediocre.
Generally speaking, the survey found residents like their own cities the most, though the percentages are different - 85 per cent in Shanghai, 79 per cent in Beijing and 50 per cent in Guangzhou.
Next to their own cities, Beijing residents prefer Shanghai, Shanghai residents hold a high opinion of Beijing and Guangzhou residents like Shanghai.
The survey responses also showed that 61 per cent of young people under the age of 19 have a good impression of Shanghai, whereas 50 per cent of elder people above the age of 50 prefer Beijing.
When asked why they love their own cities best, survey respondents gave different reasons.
Beijing wins residents' hearts by its infrastructure and humane environment. In addition, harmonious relations between neighbors, good education for children and sound tour services win high praise for Beijing residents.
In Shanghai, people are satisfied with its power network and children's education.
In Guangzhou, its housing and communications make a good impression on ordinary people.
However, the quality of air worries all residents in the three cities.
Finally, the survey generated many suggestions for city improvements.
Beijing residents are eager to see the city further upgrade its cultural and educational level, which has become the focus of their attention since the Chinese capital won the bidding for the 2008 Summer Olympic Games last year.
They also want the living environment, communications, housing and auxiliary facilities of their communities to be improved.
Shanghai and Beijing residents express their desire to improve traffic congestion and the environment and to increase vegetation in their communities.
Guangzhou residents pay much attention to improving their cultural facilities, rational city planning and protection of the environment.
(China Daily February 19, 2002)