The Party’s determination to embark on a far-reaching “toilet revolution” to improve the general state of society shows the values ​​of human rights

A view of a village after comprehensive sanitation improvement under the rural “toilet revolution” in Yachuan Town of Zunyi, southwest China’s Guizhou Province, the August 7, 2022. Photo: IC

Editor’s note:

Who is the Chinese Communist Party (CCP)? What is the CCP’s role in the new era?

The CPC has become one of the biggest ruling parties in the world in the process of leading the Chinese people to seek liberation and happiness, making China as strong and prosperous as it is today.

As the CPC ushers the nation into a new era of development, the past decade has witnessed great achievements in national strength and prosperity, with people’s confidence and recognition in this path reaching unprecedented levels.

With more than 96 million members, the CPC will convene its 20th National Congress in the second half of the year, which is expected to guide the country’s development and policy-making. Ahead of the meeting, the Global Times publishes a series of stories to help the world understand the CPC in the new era, through the stories of CPC members working on the front lines in various fields, as well as through the observations made by respected scholars.

In this episode, a CPC member who promoted the “toilet revolution” in a rural county recounts how he witnessed how a modern toilet facility has the potential to boost tourism, curb the spread of disease infectious diseases and to give dignity to the members of a society.

More and more people are now aware of the important role toilets play in improving the overall condition of a society. What lies behind China’s far-reaching “toilet revolution” is the CCP’s value for human rights and the country’s social advancement treasury.

The Chinese government’s “toilet revolution” movement was launched in 2015 as part of a campaign to boost the country’s tourism industry. Subsequently, from the reconstruction of tourist toilets to promote the upgrading of rural toilets, the scientific layout of urban public toilet sites to list the improvement of rural latrines as a binding task to be completed in the 13th five-year plan ( 2016-2020). In recent years, the “toilet revolution” has been steadily advancing in China.

Currently, the campaign focuses on rural households which are usually equipped with unsanitary latrines in open areas.

In order to improve living conditions in rural areas, China has invested a lot of human and material resources in the “toilet revolution”.

By the end of 2021, more than 70% of rural residents had access to sanitary toilets. More than 90 percent of people in rural areas in eastern China and suburbs in central and western China now have access to sanitary toilets. Since 2018, more than 40 million rural toilets have been renovated, according to official data.

Construction workers construct a public toilet in Ping'an Village in Dongyang, east China's Zhejiang Province, Dec. 19, 2018. Photo: IC

Construction workers construct a public toilet in Ping’an Village in Dongyang, east China’s Zhejiang Province, Dec. 19, 2018. Photo: IC

Over the past two decades, China has made progress in toilet availability. According to estimates by the Chinese National Health Commission, between 2000 and 2017, the availability of sanitary toilets in rural areas of China increased from 40.3% to 81.8%.

Chinese President Xi Jinping also highlighted the continuation of the “toilet revolution” in rural areas across the country, calling for strong and practical efforts to ensure quality, Xinhua News Agency reported on July 23, 2021.

With sustained efforts in recent years to promote clean toilets, noticeable improvements have been made in rural living environments, Xi said. The rural “toilet revolution” will continue to be an important task of rural revitalization over the next five years, he said, calling for solid progress in light of local conditions and in a scientific manner while avoiding the formalism and waste of resources. Xi made the remarks in a labor instruction to push forward the “toilet revolution.”

Xi also stressed the importance of the “toilet revolution” to improve the quality of the tourism industry. Authorities are urged to make steady efforts and adopt a tailored approach to address long-standing issues and put the tourism industry on a better path.

In a report acknowledging China’s efforts in building toilets, UNICEF attributed the country’s success in the “toilet revolution” to “strong political leadership, sound financial investments and local prioritization”.

Observers say China’s “toilet revolution” is a prime example of how the CCP firmly puts the people as its top priority and has always been committed to wholeheartedly serving the people and working hard for their interests. and his happiness.

A leap into the rural “toilet revolution”

Tiled walls, quiet fans, multifunctional showerheads and siphon toilets – Luo Xueli’s toilet in Gaofeng Village, Xianfeng County, central China’s Hubei Province, is a little different from the toilets commonly found in most urban areas, but they are far from a Global Times reporter’s lingering childhood impression of rural toilets.

“Such changes could not have happened without the CCP’s people-friendly policies,” Luo, a veteran Party member of 20 years, told the Global Times. His family’s toilet has gone through three “revolutions” from simplistic to innovative.

Although China has become the world’s second largest economy, some sanitation facilities in poor rural areas before 2015 were still little more than makeshift shelters surrounded by corn stalks and infested with flies and maggots, while some in much more remote areas were just open pits. in piggeries, leading to contamination and pollution from human waste. Toilets in the countryside and at tourist sites used to have a bad reputation.

As living standards in cities have continued to improve dramatically with China’s meteoric economic growth, calls for improved living conditions for the country’s 600 million rural people have grown.

In 1996, the Luo family’s wooden house was not even self-sufficient. They would dig makeshift holes near the houses with a wooden board and two bricks and put a thick fence around it with barely any privacy protection.

At that time, to go to the toilet, people had to take a Chinese fan to drive away flies, mosquitoes and other winged insects.

In 2003, the village of Luo carried out a collective renovation of the toilets of each family, and many of them were transformed into bio-digester toilet facilities.

In 2018, local governments in Xianfeng County, responding to the national call for a “toilet revolution”, subsidized each household with a 1,200 yuan ($175) rebate to upgrade existing toilets to clean and hygienic facilities. . But questions emerged such as the will of the villagers to change and how these changes would be implemented, supplemented and sustained. Luo and the village officials who planned and promoted the “toilet revolution” were full of questions at the very beginning.

However, as a Party member, Luo never lost faith that the Party’s governing philosophy and campaign are always for the welfare of the people. After repeatedly learning Xi’s idea of ​​the “toilet revolution”, Luo decided to be one of the first to transform his bio-digester toilet into a modern and hygienic toilet.

Before the renovation, the rural toilets were full of various smells, flies and mosquitoes everywhere, especially in the summer, which badly affected the living conditions of people nearby, Luo said.

“Now they have improved so much. They are quite modern and can no longer be used as an excuse by city dwellers not to come back for long-awaited meetings,” Luo said.

Luo was quick to invite neighboring villagers who were still hesitant to join the “toilet renovation” to visit his new clean toilet and see the visible benefits, both in health and economics, for their neighbours.

The “toilet revolution” not only improved infrastructure and sanitation, but also changed the way of life for most villagers. “The construction of hygienic latrines has a profound impact on the control of schistosomiasis and intestinal diseases,” said Zhao Yibiao of Fudan University’s School of Public Health.

The “toilet revolution” has also inspired the confidence of local villagers in Xianfeng County to develop tourism. More and more villagers are planning homestays, confident of providing urban visitors with a decent experience. Tian Boguo, the village Party leader, was one of the first beneficiaries of the “toilet revolution”.

Tian Boguo's renovated toilet in his home.  Photo: Courtesy of Tian Boguo

Tian Boguo’s renovated toilet in his home. Photo: Courtesy of Tian Boguo

After the modernization of the toilets, the waste can now be biodegraded by sedimentation, anaerobic digestion and other environmentally friendly means, in order to allow safe storage and use. The now harmless manure can also be used as organic fertilizer for use in the local kiwifruit industry, Tian told the Global Times.

As of December 31, 2021, Xianfeng had 72,459 rural sanitary toilets, covering 99% of households in the county. A total of 55,000 household hygiene toilets and 279 public toilets were completed, earning the county a provincial honor for its pioneering practices and achievements.

In the first half of this year, Xianfeng County received 1.65 million visitors and achieved an overall tourism income of 1.1 billion yuan.

The “toilet revolution” is a breakthrough for rural living conditions, which is an uphill battle in the rural revitalization strategy, Luo said. “It’s a ‘trivial matter’ that President Xi cares about, but it’s actually a major matter for the members of our village. Being preoccupied with what some might call trivialities in life leaves us with a warm and happiness.”

Graphic: GT

Graphic: GT

Wen Chaoshun, Yang Jun, and Qu Guocai contributed to the story

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