-
Advertorial
-
FOCUS
-
Guide
-
Lifestyle
-
Tech and Vogue
-
TechandScience
-
CHTF Special
-
Nanhan
-
Futian Today
-
Hit Bravo
-
Special Report
-
Junior Journalist Program
-
World Economy
-
Opinion
-
Diversions
-
Hotels
-
Movies
-
People
-
Person of the week
-
Weekend
-
Photo Highlights
-
Currency Focus
-
Kaleidoscope
-
Tech and Science
-
News Picks
-
Yes Teens
-
Fun
-
Budding Writers
-
Campus
-
Glamour
-
News
-
Digital Paper
-
Food drink
-
Majors_Forum
-
Speak Shenzhen
-
Business_Markets
-
Shopping
-
Travel
-
Restaurants
-
Hotels
-
Investment
-
Yearend Review
-
In depth
-
Leisure Highlights
-
Sports
-
World
-
QINGDAO TODAY
-
Entertainment
-
Business
-
Markets
-
Culture
-
China
-
Shenzhen
-
Important news
在线翻译:
szdaily -> Opinion
A silent revolution
    2017-December-11  08:53    Shenzhen Daily

Wu Guangqiang

jw368@163.com

THE world is familiar with China’s industrial, scientific and consumption revolutions, which have profoundly reshaped China itself and the world. Yet another revolution, though much less heard of, is gaining momentum, which will help forge a new image for the economic giant. This is the “toilet revolution.”

How much importance is attached to the “toilet revolution” is reflected in the fact that President Xi Jinping personally launched the “toilet revolution” in 2015 as part of a drive to improve standards of domestic tourism in China. On Nov. 27, Xi was again quoted as saying that China must keep up efforts to “revolutionize” its toilets until the task is completed.

“The toilet issue is no small thing; it’s an important aspect of building civilized cities and countryside,” Xi said.

Indeed, what a toilet looks and smells like reflects the level of a civilization.

As a 60-something-year-old who has witnessed how China has transformed from a country of destitution and backwardness into a preliminarily modernized nation, I’m fully aware that modernization is incomplete without modernized toilets, both private and public.

During my childhood and as a teenager, besides suffering from scarcity of food and daily goods, I had to answer nature’s call in a very primitive way. Like most other households without a toilet, my whole family, all seven of us, used a “matong,” or a wooden closestool. Every morning, one of the family members carried the full closestool to a nearby public toilet, if luckily there was one, to empty it. Those who had no public toilets nearby had to wait for the arrival of a dung-collecting hand cart.

Public toilets were no better than “private ones.” Almost all, including the ones in schools, factories and department stores, were pit toilets. Auto flush was nonexistent; a cleaner might come to wash away the waste once a week. Entering the toilets, stinky and filthy, often swarmed with flies, was a real challenge. And worst of all, even filthy toilets were hard to find in public places.

In rural areas, the situation was even worse. Until the early 1990s, most farmer households used dry latrines, and often shared the same ones with animals. As a result, infectious diseases caused by fecal pollution were widespread, including dysentery, cholera and hepatitis.

After the founding of the PRC, the Chinese Government has been working hard to improve public health and sanitation.

Great progress has been made. The percentage of public toilets rose from 7.5 percent in 1993 to 76.1 percent in 2014 nationwide. Over 8.3 billion yuan (US$1.25 billion) has been earmarked for the construction and upgrading of public toilets in rural areas.

In most cities, public toilets have become a part of the comfortable urban convenience. Toilets in Hangzhou, my hometown, are particularly laudable. Each toilet is attended to by fixed cleaners, usually a couple, who constantly work to keep it free of odor and dust.

In many tourist spots, toilets are more like a guest house than a restroom, clean and shiny, some even equipped with free Wi-Fi.

Yet advanced facilities and modern hardware alone will not necessarily make good toilets. Careful daily maintenance is more important.

As a Shenzhen citizen, I have to feel sorry for the management level of public toilets in this city. This can be easily discerned by making a comparison between toilets on the Shenzhen side of the Shenzhen Bay Border and the ones on the Hong Kong side. The ones on the Shenzhen side are stinky and dirty-looking while the ones on the Hong Kong side are odorless and well-ventilated. They were built at the same time with similar facilities.

The same is true of the toilets in other parts of Shenzhen. For example, some toilets along the coast of the Shenzhen Bay Park, a favorite park for citizens’ leisure, are always smelly and the floors are wet.

China will have more modernized toilets, but well-managed ones are more desirable.

(The author is an English tutor and freelance writer.)

深圳报业集团版权所有, 未经授权禁止复制; Copyright 2010, All Rights Reserved.
Shenzhen Daily E-mail:szdaily@szszd.com.cn