‘Toilet revolution’ to boost China’s rural economy

Source:Global Times Published: 2019/3/6 19:53:41

A barn-shaped toilet seen in the countryside of Binzhou, East China's Shandong Province, with upgraded and modernized interiors and bathroom accessories, part of the toilet revolution. Photo: VCG

China will allocate 7 billion yuan ($1.04 billion) to build and upgrade toilets in rural areas in 2019 under its "toilet revolution" campaign, a senior official said. 

According to Minister of Agriculture and Rural Affairs Han Changfu, the money will cover up to 10 million toilets scattered in 30,000 villages. 

According to industry analysts, the "toilet revolution" is hugely significant in improving the general welfare of rural residents. It will also help close the gap between rural and urban development, as well as boost the rural economy by strengthening the tourism industry. 

"Toilets can be vital to the life of a country," Li Guoxiang, an expert in rural development in China, told the Global Times. Better toilets "mean better hygiene standards, more convenient lives and generally better living standards. It is by no means a small issue."

Toilets can also be vital in boosting the rural economy by improving local conditions that formerly kept tourists from visiting. 

"Modern facilities including standard, clean toilets as well as clean water are basic conditions for developing tourism," Li said. "The 'toilet revolution' is a good start to revitalize local economies and close the gap between the urban and rural economies."

The "toilet revolution" was proposed in 2015. According to a report by people.com on Wednesday, from 2015 to 2017, 1.64 billion yuan was allocated to the construction and upgrading of 70,000 toilets. This drive increased the rate of rural residents using standard toilets in 2017 by 9.4 percentage points to 45 percent compared with 2013. 

Since 2018, about 24,000 toilets at tourist sites have been built or refurbished.

The "toilet revolution" is part of a general plan to boost rural development being discussed in this year's annual legislative session. 

On Tuesday, Han also noted that this year, China will continue to provide subsidies to farmers of corn and soybeans to stabilize rural economy. 


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