Xi wants China to spruce up toilets to boost tourism, quality of life

BEIJING: China must keep up efforts to "revolutionize" its toilets until the task is completed, state media quoted Chinese President Xi Jinping as saying on Monday, amid efforts to boost the domestic tourist industry and improve the quality of life.

Xi launched the "toilet revolution" in 2015 as part of a drive to improve standards of domestic tourism in China, which he said suffers from deep-seated problems of a lack of civility.

"The toilet issue is no small thing, it's an important aspect of building civilized cities and countryside," Xi said, according to the official Xinhua news agency.

As an emerging industry, Chinese tourism needs an upgrade in both hardware and software to continue strong growth, Xinhua reported Xi as saying.

China's National Tourism Administration recently announced plans to build and upgrade 64,000 toilets between 2018 and 2020.

But the toilet revolution is about more than just giving sightseers a better holiday experience; it is also about creating a more civilized society, Xinhua added.

Since coming to power in 2012, Xi has often visited homes in the countryside and makes checks to see if the locals use pit toilets, besides stressing that village modernization requires sanitary toilets, Xinhua said.

In a course-setting speech to a meeting of the ruling Communist Party in October, Xi redefined the "principal contradiction" facing Chinese society for the first time since 1981, saying the current need was not just for more growth, but more equal growth to satisfy people's desire for a "nice life".

China's tourism industry has upgraded 68,000 toilets over the last three years, completing about 19 percent of the task, Xinhua said, in what it called "universally welcomed" renovations.