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Shanghai public service 'unsatisfactory' despite investments

Shanghai's public service is far from satisfactory, though the city has spent lavishly on it, a report said yesterday.

The city won the third place in the objective indicator -- investment and public service output, but it fell out of the top 10 cities with the best government service as ranked by the public, according to the 2011 Service-Oriented Government Index issued yesterday.

China's other first-tier cities of Beijing, Tianjin, Shenzhen and Guangzhou are also absent from the top 10 cities in the public view. Researchers said a city's GDP or economic development is not directly linked with people's satisfaction of the services of their local government.

The report is based on surveys of 25,100 people and 3,200 enterprises dealing in everything from health and education to public transport, housing and cultural activities.

Researchers from Singapore's Nanyang Technological University and Shanghai Jiao Tong University collaborated to rank 32 major Chinese cities' government public services. They used three factors -- an objective look at the investment levels and effects of public services, the personal views of the public, and the personal views of the people working for the enterprises.

"Shanghai has spent lots of money but local residents are not very satisfied," said Hu Wei, dean of the SJTU's School of International and Public Affairs. "Shanghai should pay attention to the efficiency," he said.

Hu added that Shanghai and other big cities have lots of well-educated people who often carry higher expectations. The public services must win their recognition, and that drags down Shanghai's performance, Hu said.

Moreover, some accidents such as the high-rise inferno that killed 58 people in Shanghai last year hurt the city's performance, he said.

Shanghai's overall performance ranked ninth in the report.

Xiamen and Qingdao, port cities in Fujian and Shandong provinces, and Hangzhou, capital of Zhejiang Province, won the top three places in overall performance. Most of the top 10 cities are in the eastern area while none of the cities in the Pearl River Delta Region, one of the main hubs of China's economic growth, squeezed into the top 10.
The pursuit of GDP growth doesn't necessarily result in increased public satisfaction, researchers said.

They advised local governments to increase transparency, fight corruption and include residents in policy-making and implementation to win public trust and satisfaction.


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