by WorldTribune Staff, November 28, 2017
Chinese President Xi Jinping has vowed to stand and deliver when it comes to fixing the sorry state of public toilets in his country.
“Toilet issues are not petty matters but an important aspect of improving infrastructure in urban and rural areas,” Xi was quoted as saying.
Xi even mentioned the issue in his report to the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) Congress in September, vowing to clean up the notoriously dirty and foul-smelling facilities, some of which were described by state news agency Xinhua as no more than “open pits next to pigsties.”
“While visiting rural areas, Xi used to ask local residents about the conditions of the toilets they use, and stressed many times that clean toilets for rural residents are important for the building of a ‘new countryside,’ ” Xinhua wrote.
Part of the effort will also include cracking down on “greedy” toilet users by restricting the amounts of toilet paper in facilities. China has also experimented with the use of facial recognition technology to deter people from stealing rolls of toilet paper.
“Local authorities are now more aware of the important role toilets play, believing better toilets are not only beneficial for tourism, but can also enhance the overall level of civilization of society,” Xinhua wrote.
Xinhua noted that more than 68,000 public toilets have been refurbished since Xi began his effort to flush out the problem in 2015. Another 64,000 toilets are expected to be built or refurbished between 2018 and 2020, the news agency said.
In May, a report from the Chinese National Tourism Administration warned sites such as the Xixia Dinosaur Park in Henan province and the Northwestern Qinghai Lake were “seriously lagging behind” in the effort.
“At tourist sites, visitors were angered by insufficient toilets, unhygienic conditions, and a lack of sanitation workers,” the report said.