• Seats In The Shape Of Western-Style Toilets Appear In Nanjing

Seats In The Shape Of Western-Style Toilets Appear In Nanjing (Photo : Getty Images)

In a follow-up to the three-year toilet reform campaign across the country so China would no longer be the butt of jokes among foreigners about its restrooms, a toilet-themed innovation contest was announced on Wednesday.

The design competition aims to find suggestions across the country how China could better dispose human waste without turning off foreigner who have previously criticized not only the squat bowls but also the foul odor of excretion. But more than grand designs, the China National Tourism Administration (NTA) recognize also that the physical changes must be accompanied by behavioral changes.

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Along that line, the NTA said it is considering banning foreigners who do not observe proper hygiene when using the country’s new toilets. Top on the list are visitors who do not flush the commode after use. Li Jinzao, NTA director, lamented that “Toilet civilization has a long way to go in China,” quoted China Daily.

However, so as not to be accused by foreign and local tourists of not building enough restroom so that visitors would not have to answer the call of nature just anywhere, the NTA will invest 12.5 billion yuan ($1.9 billion) to construct another 25,000 toilet in tourist destinations on top of the 22,000 it built since the reform was launched in 2015, Li said.

Other than those in scenic spots, the government would also refurbish existing toilets at train and bus stops, shopping malls, dining establishments and entertainment centers. High on the list of reforms would be the use of western toilet bowls that are elevated so tourists who are relieving themselves do not have to squat which western tourists are not used to.

Perhaps China can get some ideas from neighbor Japan which used to also have traditional squat seats which sometimes cause minor accidents among unfamiliar users such as a foot, or feet, landing in the toilet bowl. Today, Japanese establishments not only have western-type bowls but even boast of the most modern and hi-tech loos in the world that have features such as auto flush and seat heaters.