Recently, the construction of a two-story luxury public toilet in rural Changchun, Jilin province, has attracted public attention. The local authority responded that this is to facilitate people to go to the toilet while walking and is also a waste transfer station. However, the authority’s response has drawn ridicule and suspicion from netizens.
On the morning of September 16, the topic “two-story luxury public toilet in the fertile land of Changchun” appeared on Baidu’s hot search page.
NetEase published an article titled “What an outrageous waste! The land of crops has now become a luxury two-story public toilet. There is no benefit other than flaunting financial wealth.”
The article said the video shows that the two-story building looks relatively high-class. Above the door is a signboard “Public Toilet.” What confuses people is that the public toilet is surrounded by land which is supposed to grow crops, and there are no shops or houses around.
The article said it was impossible to imagine such a luxurious toilet suddenly appearing in a crop field in Pingchuan. From any ordinary person’s viewpoint, this is nothing but the local authority boastfully displaying their financial wealth.
The Changchun New Area Sanitation Committee responded, “This is actually a waste transfer station though it can, in the long run, be optimized to provide toilet services.”
Regarding this, the article raises several questions:
1. If it is a “waste transfer station,” how much does it cost? Regarding the local economic level, is the construction of such a high-class “waste transfer station” per relevant regulations? How much waste is transported here daily, and is it entirely optimized?
2. “In the long run”? Do you want to wait until this area is developed? If we wait until then, will this public toilet still be usable?
3. “For the convenience of nearby residents and passersby”? How many people walk that far from the village? If the use of toilets is really for the convenience of the people, have they consulted the people?
Epoch Times has compiled some comments from mainland netizens:
“The public toilet in Changchun’s cropland really looks like a mansion.”
“How many people walk such a long distance to a public toilet in such a large farmland?”
“Who spent money to build such a luxurious toilet? Isn’t that a bit of a waste?”
According to Epoch Times, since 2015, Changchun City has officially launched a “toilet revolution” that lasted for three years. And for two consecutive years, it was recognized by the National Administration of Tourism as an “Advanced City In The National Toilet Revolution.” The “toilet revolution” has gradually expanded from the scenic area to the whole region, from the city to the countryside. Changchun urban area alone has invested $20.4 million (141 million yuan) to build 491 toilets.
The ‘toilet revolution’ became ‘heartbreaking work‘
The “toilet revolution” is a toilet renovation initiative launched by Xi Jinping in 2015 to address the filthy condition of public toilets in tourist attractions. At that time, Xi Jinping instructed that “the toilet problem is not a trivial matter,” and the public toilet condition must be “revọlutionalized” in scenic spots, cities, and rural areas.
After that, China’s large cities and rural areas began to carry out the “toilet revolution.” The CCP’s finance department annually provided funds to support the “toilet revolution”.
In particular, Guangdong province allocated more than $4.7 billion (32.9 billion yuan) between 2018 and 2020 to promote rural construction, including the “toilet revolution.” In 2020, Yunnan province invested $210 million in the “toilet revolution” in rural areas.
However, the “toilet revolution” made many villagers miserable. The newly renovated latrines in Anhui, Henan, Gansu, Hubei and other places had no water, and the septic tanks were also not cleaned regularly. In the end, the villagers did not use the renovated toilets and went to the toilet arbitrarily.
At the same time, this “toilet revolution” has also become a tool for local officials to make money.
In July 2019, CCTV reported that in Yingli Village, Shenze County, Shijiazhuang, Hebei Province, each renovated toilet is subsidized for $72. The local authority has inflated more than 100 toilets to scam subsidies. Each public toilet in Suzhou, Yangzhou, Guangzhou, and other places costs more than $143,000.
In January 2021, the official CCP media criticized the “toilet revolution” as “superficial” and “heartless.”
For example, more than 80,000 toilets have been rebuilt in Shenyang, Liaoning, of which more than 50,000 are abandoned. However, even a brand new toilet can be built in a dilapidated house. Local people said: “A brand new toilet will be built wherever there is a residential house; the local government doesn’t care whether there’s anyone actually living in such residential houses,” according to Shanghai observer.
At that time, the CCP’s official media criticized local officials for only paying attention to getting things done on the surface instead of genuinely caring about the effectiveness of important civic projects.
They wrote: “Some ‘flies’ have changed the way they fatten themselves by earning profits from commissions for building toilets, plucking goose feathers and making money from civic projects.”