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Municipal government as an institutional form spread across China in the first decades of the twentieth century. Inspired by foreign models, the form embedded itself quickly into the domestic political order. As it came to be implemented in China, municipal government focused on policing and infrastructure. Municipal officials' promises of economic development and social discipline were attractive to local elites. New urban institutions opened avenues for ambitious younger men to build careers alongside established county and provincial administrations. Urban administration enjoyed cachet, being understood as an important priority worldwide. The creation of municipal governments facilitated the incorporation of new technologies, techniques, and training into the Chinese political order. Municipal government contributed to national integration by spreading common practices and building a new institutional framework that the Nationalist and Communist governments were able to knit together via new laws and personnel transfers in later decades.