Chinese Women See No Humor in Lack of Potties

A current cause for citizen activism in China is the lack of public restrooms for women, writes Sharon LaFraniere. Recent efforts to stage "Occupy Men's Toilets" campaigns in multiple cities have garnered attention from the press, and authorities.

LaFraniere profiles the efforts of Li Tingting, 22, a public management student in Shanxi Province, to address what has become a very serious concern in urban China: the severe lack of public restrooms for women, where national standards dictate a one-to-one ratio of men's to women's facilities.

According to LaFraniere, "Public restrooms are not a new topic for China, nor a particularly delicate one. The World Health Organization estimates that tens of millions of Chinese have no access to toilets and defecate in the open. A 2010 report estimated that 45 percent of Chinese lacked access to improved sanitation facilities that protect users from contact with excrement, contributing to the risk of disease."

While Li's "Occupy" efforts in Guangzhou met with mild success (the local government adjusted the ratio of men's to women's facilities to 1:1.5), "Occupy" actions planned for Beijing were met with police intervention.

Full Story: For Chinese Women, a Basic Need, and Few Places to Attend to It


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