Planet China

Flush with cash

Chinese public lavatories are among the most unpleasant in the world, a fact that WiC may have mentioned before. But a new shopping mall in Chongqing has got internet users talking with the unveiling of a loo that is super clean – but not exactly public. According to Xinhua, the Xingguang 68 luxury mall has a locked toilet that requires a swipe card for entry. But in order to use the VIP facilities, guests must spend over Rmb5,000 (and on one item, no less). Mall executives reckon it is a first for the Chinese retail environment, although netizens have labelled it “the toilet you cannot afford to use”. In an online poll, 89% expressed strong dissatisfaction with the whole idea, finding it discriminatory. For Chinese leaders – worried by the increasing gap between rich and poor – the luxury loo may not be a welcome development, unless they happen to be out shopping in Chongqing, of course (for more on the theme of income inequality see page 16).


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