Planet China

Two at a time


WiC has lost count of the number of times this column has mentioned toilets in China, but once again the web has been wowed by a local lavatory. This time the story involves the ladies loo at an Intime shopping mall on Yan’an Road in cosmopolitan Hangzhou. Late last month a netizen posted a photo of a two-seated toilet (see below), with the caption: “What’s wrong with Hangzhou’s toilets? Is this cubicle designed for besties?” The image showed two toilets in rather close proximity, leaving little sense of privacy.

The photo soon went viral, receiving thousands of comments within a few hours, reports Urban Express. The contributions varied from the shocked to the amused (“are girls supposed to hold hands while they use the loo?”). Others remarked that it wasn’t the only dual-loo, pointing out that Shenzhen Futian Hospital and Tianjin West Railway also have ‘communal’ approaches in this regard.

Urban Express dispatched a reporter to investigate China’s lavatory issue of the week. Bystanders at the mall all agreed that the two-seated toilet would be too embarrassing to use, and a cleaner confirmed that the bathroom was rarely visited.

The newspaper then contacted an executive in the mall’s planning department and asked the burning question: why? The response was that the facility was a ‘parent-child bathroom’ designed for an adult to visit with a child or elderly relative. “They are very humane, but the usage rate is indeed not high,” the Intime employee admitted of the much-discussed design.

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