Ter­ra­cotta War­riors’ home­town will join na­tional ‘toi­let revo­lu­tion’

China Daily (USA) - - FRONT PAGE - By HUO YAN and MA LIE in Xi’an Su Zhou con­trib­uted to this story. Con­tact the writ­ers at malie@ chi­nadaily.com.cn

Xi’an, home to the famed Ter­ra­cotta War­riors, has launched a city­wide cam­paign to clean up its pub­lic toi­lets for a more pleas­ant ex­pe­ri­ence for lo­cals and tourists.

The cap­i­tal of Shaanxi prov­ince has set up a lead­ing group to steer the work and ap­pointed “toi­let chiefs”, neigh­bor­hood of­fice em­ploy­ees tasked with reg­u­larly check­ing fa­cil­i­ties, ac­cord­ing to the city tourism ad­min­is­tra­tion.

If a re­stroom at a tourism spot or at­trac­tion does not make the grade, the of­fi­cials re­spon­si­ble for san­i­ta­tion, in­clud­ing those at dis­trict level, will fail their an­nual work as­sess­ment, said Zhang Yongke, di­rec­tor of the ad­min­is­tra­tion.

The move is part of China’s “toi­let revo­lu­tion”, launched in Jan­uary 2015, which aims to en­sure cleaner pub­lic re­strooms in scenic spots as well as equip them with Western­style toi­lets, soap and even ameni­ties like big-screen tele­vi­sions, free Wi-Fi, ATMs and so­fas.

Ac­cord­ing to the China Na­tional Tourism Ad­min­is­tra­tion, some 100,000 pub­lic toi­lets will be built or ren­o­vated na­tion­ally be­tween 2016 and 2020.

Li Jin­zao, the agency’s di­rec­tor, said that a dirty toi­let de­stroys the ef­forts of all kinds of tourist re­sort pro­mo­tions and the neg­a­tive im­pres­sion is hard to erase.

The ad­min­is­tra­tion has forecast that China’s tourism mar­ket will gen­er­ate more than $760 bil­lion in rev­enue in 2017, up from the $683 bil­lion in 2016.

Feng Min, 57, a tourist from Shen­zhen, Guang­dong prov­ince, said it was not easy to find a toi­let when she vis­ited Xi’an re­cently, and the one she did find had a bad odor.

Wu Yi­hui, a re­tired tour guide, said foreign tourists he worked with in the late 1980s would re­turn to the ho­tel for the bath­room since even toi­lets in mu­se­ums were not clean.

“Now, the city’s pub­lic toi­lets are much eas­ier to find and cleaner, but there is still room for im­prove­ment,” Wu said.

The cen­tral gov­ern­ment has set a na­tional stan­dard for toi­let man­age­ment, which cov­ers lay­out, hy­giene and eval­u­a­tion in­dexes for odor.

Xi’an au­thor­i­ties said that all toi­lets in the city’s pub­lic area and at tourism at­trac­tions and fa­cil­i­ties should meet the na­tional stan­dard.

The city will also en­cour­age busi­nesses fre­quented by the pub­lic, gov­ern­men­tal or­gans and institutions to open their toi­lets to the pub­lic free of charge.

“With in­creas­ing con­tact with the rest of the world, we should pay a lot of at­ten­tion to the is­sue of toi­lets, which re­flects a city’s friend­ship, so­cial de­vel­op­ment and cul­tural at­mos­phere,” said Zhang Bao­tong, an ex­pert in so­cial and eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment with the China Academy of So­cial Sciences’ Shaanxi branch.

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