How to be a Civilised City

‘National Civilised City’ is an honorary title granted by the Central Steering Commission for Building Spiritual Civilisation. The commission awards the title to urban governments in recognition of attainment of party-designated standards in several categories including education of party officials, promotion of the rule of law, public security, development of the consumer environment, provision of new cultural facilities, volunteer social services organisation and environmental quality. As the highest state honour for Chinese cities, the title of Civilised City is much sought after by urban officials.

To be awarded the title, a city must apply for evaluation and demonstrate ‘clean’ government. Subsequent to preliminary assessment, cities are subject to local site inspection including interviews with local citizens. Each of the eleven categories of standards is subject to multiple criteria of evaluation and assessment. The following is a selection from the Civilised City Evaluation Work Manual, which contains over one hundred separate items of evaluation of the goals specified in the National Civilised City Assessment System. Each criterion involves various standards of qualitative or quantitative assessment:

  • Study and promulgation of party theory and policy (lilun xuexi yu xuanchuan 理论学习与宣传)
  • Education of party cadres (ganbu xuexi jiaoyu 干部学习教育)
  • Scientific and democratic system for decision-making (jianli kexue minzhu juece zhidu
  • 建立科学民主决策制度)
  • Government transparency (zhengwu gongkai 政务公开)
  • Observance of government regulations by officials (yifa xingzheng 依法行政)
  • Legal propaganda and education (fazhi xuanchuan jiaoyu 法制宣传教育)
  • Legal aid and services (falü yuanzhu yu fuwu 法律援助与服务)
  • Protection of labour rights (weihu laodongzhe hefa quanyi 维护劳动者合法权益)
  • Protection of gender equality (weihu nannüpingdeng 维护男女平等)
  • Protection of the rights of minors and senior citizens (weichengnianren, laonianren quanyi baohu 未成年人, 老年人权益保护)
  • Protection of migrant workers’ rights (jincheng wugong renyuan quanyi baozhang 进城务工人员权益保障)
  • Complaints of violation of rights of disabled people, per ten thousand households (qinfan canjiren hefa quanyi shijian tousulü – qi/wanhu 侵犯残疾人合法权益事件投诉率 – 起/万户)
  • Strengthening grassroots-level Party and Youth League organisation (jiceng dang, tuan zuzhi jianshe 基层党, 团组织建设)
  • Democratic establishment and administration of community residential committees (shequ juweihuide minzhu jianshe yu guanli 社区居委会的民主建设与管理)
  • Public safety and security (gonggong anquan baozhang 公共安全保障)
  • Emergency response systems (tufa gonggong shijian yingji chuli 突发公共事件应急处理)
  • Maintenance of social stability (weihu shehui wending 维护社会稳定)
  • Promotion of retail shops without counterfeit products (kaizhan ‘baicheng wandian wu jiahuo’ huodong 开展‘百城万店无假货’活动)

    A banner reading ‘Create a civilised city and build a harmonious society’. Photo: Sen Yuan

    A banner reading ‘Create a civilised city and build a harmonious society’.
    Photo: Sen Yuan

  • Anti-smuggling and ‘anti-fake’ campaigns (daji zousi fansi, jiamao weilie chan shangpin 打击走私贩私, 假冒伪劣产商品)
  • Protection of the legal rights and interests of businesses (weihu qiye hefa quanyi 维护企业合法权益)
  • Civic education (shimin jiaoyu 市民教育)
  • Moral and ideological education of minors (weichengnianren sixiang daode jiaoyu 未成年人思想道德教育)
  • Education expenditure per capita (renjun jiaoyu jingfei zhichu 人均教育经费支出)
  • Frequency of large-scale cultural events held in public squares (daxing guangchang wenhua huodong cishu 大型广场文化活动次数)
  • Public libraries (gonggong tushuguan 公共图书馆)
  • Art museums, cultural centres and places for community cultural activities (yiguan, wenhua guan, shequ wenhua huodong changsuo 艺馆, 文化馆, 社区文化活动场所)
  • Sports facilities per capita measured in square metres (renjun tiyu changdi mianji 人均体育场地面积)
  • Regulation of publications (chubanwu guanli 出版物管理)
  • Establishment and regulation of Internet culture (wangluo wenhua jianshe yu guanli 网络文化建设与管理)
  • Protection of cultural heritage (wenhua yichan baohu 文化遗产保护)
  • Popularisation of science knowledge and team building (kepu sheshi he kepu duiwu 科普设施和科普队伍)
  • Road manners and compliance with traffic regulations (shimin jiaotong xingwei 市民交通行为)
  • Good deeds [à la Lei Feng] (jianyi yongwei 见义勇为)
  • Charitable donations (cishan juanzhu 慈善捐助)
  • Volunteer organisations and activities (zhiyuanzhe zuzhi yu huodong 志愿者组织与活动)
  • Level of GDP per capita (renjun GDP shuiping 人均GDP水平)
  • Ownership of patents per one hundred thousand people (mei shiwan ren yongyou zhuanli shouquan shu 每十万人拥有专利授权数)
  • Community health service centres (shequ weisheng fuwu zhongxin 社区卫生服务中心)
  • Food safety (shipin anquan 食品安全)
  • Drinking water sanitisation (yingyongshui weisheng 饮用水卫生)
  • Average life expectancy (pingjun yuqi shouming 平均预期寿命)
  • Urban and rural social assistance system (chengxiang shehui jiuzhu tixi 城乡社会救助体系)
  • Per capita public green space (renjun gonggong lüdi 人均公共绿地)
  • Rate of centralisation of treatment of urban sewage (chengshi shenghuo wushui jizhong chuli lü 城市生活污水集中处理率)
  • Air pollution indices — API index Rate of compliance of stabilising pollutants and emissions from key industrial enterprises (zhongdian gongye qiye wuranwu paifang wending dabiao lü 重点工业企业污染物排放稳定达标率)
  • Energy conservation and emissions reduction (jieneng jianpai 节能减排).

Note: The Civilised Cities Evaluation Work Manual from which the above list is excerpted is available on Chinese document websites; there is no official website that openly lists these rules and criteria.