The soap opera A Life in Two Cities has recently gained much popularity among television audiences. The series, featuring the life of a Shanghainese husband and his Beijing wife, reflects many deep-rooted prejudices that people in Beijing and Shanghai hold towards each other.
Scholar Yi Zhongtian, in his book Reading Chinese Cities, states a general but precise summary of the mutual attitudes. “Beijingers are generally tolerant of people from outside – but they seem to make an exception for the Shanghainese, whom they treat unfairly. Meanwhile, although the Shanghainese tend to have a humorous sense of superiority towards anyone who is not from Shanghai, they do have a sort of grudging respect for people from Beijing. This is not perceived by the Beijingers as a particular honor.”