Shanghai shakes off the toilet

The living environment map provided by residents in the historical and cultural scene of Shanghai Hengshan Road-Fuxing Road.

  One of the biggest troubles in China's largest city is related to toilets. Not many people know about this.

  Every morning, carrying a wooden toilet in one hand and a toilet brush in the other, walking from the lanes to the septic tank along the large and small roads, greeted the neighbors and brushed the toilet vigorously. This was the daily life in Shanghai more than 30 years ago. The era of "hand-carrying toilet" among the population of Shanghai.

  To this day, Shanghai is still working hard to get rid of this toilet. On July 22 this year, Jing’an District, the central city of Shanghai, announced that it had completed a five-year plan for the renovation of an old district eight months in advance, including: the cumulative completion of more than 5,200 “hand toilets” renovations. Solve the problem of residents "difficult to go to the toilet".

  In the depths of the French phoenix tree near Huaihai Road, the most famous commercial street in Shanghai, the young man Mao Dou (an alias at the request of the interviewee) who lives in the historical and cultural area of ​​Hengshan Road-Fuxing Road was extremely jealous. He and his neighbors still can't do without holding the toilet.

  On the way to down the toilet, they would consciously dress neatly and decently, pass quietly by the Internet celebrity shop, pass by the Drama Art Center, and pass by fashionable nightclubs and bars. Under their feet is China's "inch of earth and inch of gold".

  "The transformation of urban shanty towns and old houses is the biggest livelihood problem that has plagued Shanghai for a long time." said Yan Huimin, former deputy director of the People's Internal Conflict Resolution Office of the Shanghai Municipal Inspectorate and director of the Shanghai Society of Letters and Calls. After studying thousands of petition files, he found that fighting the toilet has always been the focus and difficulty of the Shanghai People's Livelihood Project, and it is also the most concentrated point of petition conflicts.

  On July 16, residents of the shanty town on Baochang Road in Shanghai went out to dry their clothes. They pulled a rope between the two houses to solve the drying needs. Not far away are tall buildings. China Youth Daily·China Youth Daily reporter Wang Yejie/Photo

I didn’t agree with each other, and I buckled a toilet directly on my head

  Since the initiation of the first phase of urban housing construction and renovation in 1991, Shanghai, one of the most developed cities in the world, has struggled with toilets for 30 years.

  Around 2000, Shanghai chanted the slogan "eliminate the toilet." At that time, there was a stench along the Suzhou River, which ran through various core areas on the west bank of the Huangpu River in Shanghai. An important reason is that residents of shantytowns along the coast use the toilets in the river every day.

  “At that time, there were constant conflicts between petitions and petitions. When people met petition cadres coming to their door, they didn’t agree with each other and they directly buckled a toilet on their heads.” Yan Huimin said, “eliminating the toilet” was the biggest livelihood benefit at the time. “Everyone hates Suzhou. River, I don’t want to live in the lower corner of the Suzhou River."

  Twenty years later, star-rated hotels, high-end residences, and high-end shopping malls are scattered along the Suzhou River. The stench is gone, and house prices are climbing up. "Suzhou Riverside" has become the "core selling point" of developers.

  However, "eliminating the toilet" is far from being as simple as shouting a slogan. The complexity of cities and the diverse needs of residents are far beyond people's imagination.

  Jing'an District, Shanghai, is advancing a "one square meter bathroom" project. According to the standard of about 25,000 yuan to 30,000 yuan per household, the government has funded the installation of an electric toilet for free for residents living in old towns below the second level who are still pouring the toilet. Compared with flush toilets, electric toilets can remove feces. Break it so that it can pass through a narrow pipe.

On July 16, a Shanghai resident introduced his new bathroom to reporters. Zhou Guanling/Photo

  "Second-level old house" refers to a house in which the load-bearing wall thickness of the old-style inner house is 10 inches, and the thickness of the non-bearing wall is 5 inches. "Below Level 2", as the name suggests, is not as good as Level 2 old.

  The old towns below the second-level in Shanghai are divided into two types: "slice type" and "sporadic type". The area of ​​the old houses below the second-class li is more than 5,000 square meters, and the construction area of ​​the houses below the second-class li occupies more than 70% of the area of ​​residential houses in the plot. Jing'an District announced that it has completed all the renovations of the old buildings below the second level of the "slice type", and the rest are "sporadic types." Due to the fragmentation, the sporadic "old and broken" relocation process is relatively slow.

  "Don't install the toilet! Resolutely don't install it!" This is what Bei Yi, secretary of the Party General Branch of Xinhanxing Neighborhood Committee, Baoshan Road Street, Jing'an District, heard the most when he promoted the "one square meter toilet" in the early days. He remembered that an old man in his 70s always scolded the staff of the neighborhood committee and the construction team leader who came to the house.

  Residents have a wide range of ideas. Some people feel that after the government has paid for the renovation of sanitation facilities, the local area is even more hopeless. Therefore, they resolutely refuse to renovate. They would rather carry the toilet for another 10 years and wait for the demolition. Some people suspect that the government says no money is required for the project. Halfway through or completion, money will definitely be required; some people have a total of 12 square meters in their homes and they are reluctant to spare 1 square meter; and there are tenants who are worried about the rent increase after the renovation.

  There are a total of 701 “hand-carrying toilet” households in Baoshan Road. These houses were built in the 1930s and 1940s and are mostly brick-wood structures distributed in 9 “sporadic” plots in 8 residential areas. Not only is it difficult to persuade the residents, even if the residents fully agree, it will be difficult to formulate a renovation plan. 701 households, each household’s plan has to be changed several times.

I lied to marry, do you want my son to lied to marry too?

  For a period of time, Li Junmin, the former director of the Letters and Calls Office of Baoshan Road Street, Jing'an District, carried a stack of paper bags in his armpits and shuttled under the antennas of shantytowns. When residents see him, they will come out to say hello and report problems. He always writes them down one by one, and then tells him to call himself directly if he has something to do, "please don't petition for a small matter."

  On July 16, the sewer entrance in the alley. Before this, residents often poured their urine and feces into it. Zhou Guanling/Photo

  He is very clear: not every household has a strong willingness to reform. Those who want to reform must petition, and those who don't want to reform must petition.

  In those old buildings that have experienced vicissitudes of life, the appeals of thousands of households are one after another: in the early days, because there were no sanitary facilities, many people asked the government to report their distress about carrying toilets; the government paid for the renovation, and the petition department would receive information from neighbors about whether to install toilets. There were complaints about where the toilet was installed, and some people asked for "no remodeling or direct demolition." Later, regarding construction noise and warranty issues, some residents clamored to petition.

  In August 2018, Li Junmin first received petitions from 23 residents of Lane 723 and Lane 731 of Baochang Road. They asked the government to help improve sanitation facilities. "I went to the site to see that the improvement needs were reasonable, and the people really had a hard life." He recalled that the residents of Lane 723 and Lane 731 of Baochang Road all used hand-carrying toilets at the time. Because of the demolition and construction of a high-end community on the opposite side, they even turned the toilet down. , There is no place to hang clothes.

  Resident Li Caiying reported that during the most difficult period, she had to walk from her home to a uniform drying spot on another road to dry her clothes. It took about 15 minutes; her 90-year-old mother had to walk out of the alley with the toilet to the garbage on the opposite side. Stand to pour the toilet. The original septic tank disappeared, and the residents had to come up with a new trick-put a plastic bag in the toilet, put it in the plastic bag every day to solve their physiological needs, and then carry the plastic bag to "throw out the garbage."

  In a household on Baoshan Road, Shanghai, half of the space was partitioned by the kitchen and transformed into a bathroom, bid farewell to the toilet. Photo courtesy of Baoshan Road Sub-district Office

  At that time, in the old-style lanes, the living conditions of the residents were in sharp contrast with the high-end districts across the street. They were all under the jurisdiction of the same neighborhood committee. The former is stinking, and every household has to install a half-person-height rat stop on the gate; in the latter, every gate in and out of the community and building has access control and security, and the underground parking garage is clean and tidy. The lobby is magnificent, "butler" guards the door, and the price per square meter is nearly 100,000 yuan.

  But the smell is not picky. In this area, every household, whether it is a mansion or an "old house", can almost smell the strange smell in the air.

  After Li Junmin reported the situation verified by his investigation to his superiors, at the beginning of 2019, the renovation project of "one square meter bathroom" for 701 households in Baoshan Road Street was launched. Li Junmin was also transferred to the Subdistrict Community Management Office as the director, responsible for the entire renovation project.

  Ah Hua (pseudonym), who lives at Lane 735, Baochang Road, had originally made up his mind that he would definitely not install an electric toilet. In 1986, he was married in this old house when he was in his twenties. He is now retired and "the house has not moved yet."

  His wife, who has been married for 34 years, has always threatened him with divorce for many years. “She said that I cheated on the marriage back then. When I got married, I said that this place was going to be moved and the house was going to be divided. There has been no movement. She is still pouring the toilet every day.” On the other side, this year's 32-year-old son is going to get married and has no new house. He has already had several girlfriends.

  A family of 3 lives in a bungalow of about 13 square meters, eats, drinks and sleeps, all in this room. Once, when my son brought his girlfriend to the door, the other party was embarrassed when he saw this family environment. He told the girl that the demolition of the surrounding area is almost complete, and our place is coming soon.

  Upon hearing this, the wife immediately rolled her eyes. "Don't talk nonsense, I cheated the marriage, do you want his son to cheat the marriage too? (Demolition) This matter is not clear yet."

  The government paid for the reconstruction of the "one square meter bathroom", but Awa firmly disagreed. “I’m particularly worried. If the government improves our living conditions, doesn’t it want to relocate us? Live here for a lifetime?” He told reporters that if you lose the opportunity to compensate for demolition for a sanitation facility, it’s not worth the gain.” I would rather continue to live like this, and I must wait until the relocation."

  Residents’ committee secretary Bei Yi told reporters that in the early stage of consultation, rumors of “no demolition after the toilet was installed” spread. Residents encouraged each other to “hold your breath”—the “screen” of “hold your breath”. The stalemate in which no one moved and no one made a statement lasted for nearly 10 days.

  On July 16, residents of the shanty town on Baochang Road in Shanghai introduced the plumbing design of the electric toilet to reporters. The toilet sewage that has been treated by the electric toilet flows in the pipeline. China Youth Daily·China Youth Daily reporter Wang Yejie/Photo

  Bei Yi decided to find a family as a "model room". This family cannot be a resident group leader, a party member family, and there can be no civil servants or "career editors" in the family, but a straightforward family who usually has a bit of bluffing and likes to choke people. Li Caiying was selected. Her home is near Ah Hua's home. Her 90-year-old mother has to carry the toilet every day, and she has a strong desire to reform.

  Both Li Rongjun and Bei Yi assured Li Caiying that the reconstruction has nothing to do with the demolition, and that each family has its own design plan to ensure that each family is satisfied. All problems in the construction process were solved by Bei Yi, and his mobile phone number was disclosed to all residents.

  Since then, Bei Yi’s mobile phone has received various calls every day. Until July this year, the "one square meter bathroom" project was completed for 7 months. He has been receiving inquiries about toilet warranty issues. Warranty call."

  In response to the requests of different residents, the government "successfully" helped to build open-air stoves in different locations of each house and connected them to water pipes and pools.

  Al Wah has been to see the renovation of every household. He finally agreed to the renovation, "My house is now in the entire room, and the best condition is the bathroom. Now my wife doesn't have to go to the toilet every morning, and I feel better."

The living environment map provided by residents in the historical and cultural scene of Shanghai Hengshan Road-Fuxing Road.

Looking at these pipelines, you can know how difficult it is to rebuild

  It is much more difficult to install sanitary facilities in an old brick-wood structure than to build a new one. These old houses have thin walls and thin floors. One family is "sticky" next to each other. When a car passes by outside the alley, the people upstairs will "shake". Every house must set aside 1 square meter to build a bathroom, no matter where it is built, it will affect the upper and lower floors and the neighbors next door.

  Residents Ahua, Zhou Helin, Lao Yang and several old neighbors who know a little about engineering gathered together and prepared a "construction inspection team" under the guidance of the neighborhood committee. Regardless of the construction site, the inspection team will send someone to supervise the work on site.

  "I used to take a cold shower from Futian, until the winter, every day I was shirtless by the gutter at the entrance of the alley. It was too ugly. Now that the state gives money to build a bathroom, I should do my best." Zhou Helin is most concerned about solving the problem of bathing. He became a volunteer and also helped to lobby other people's homes.

  Lao Yang, who was born as a plasterer, went to at least 50 households to supervise the work and found many hidden problems. Now he is respected by neighbors in the alley. "One household, one policy, each family has a different design plan." He witnessed the whole process of the renovation of the "one square meter bathroom". He can distinguish these according to the various pipes spreading on the outside, side, and top of the house. The pipeline leads to whose home. "Looking at these pipes, you can know how difficult it is to rebuild, and all of them will eventually lead to a septic tank. It's a tiring thing."

  Complicated pipelines also lead to complicated people’s hearts: some people have finally chosen a "pit" and are ready to start work, and the neighbors downstairs rushed up to beat someone. The "pit" he chose happened to be the "dining table" downstairs. Neighbors are not allowed to start work. "You are flushing the toilet upstairs with a large toilet, and the sewage flows through the pipe next to my dining table. How can it be done?"; some people live on the third floor. The moldy and softened wooden ladder climbed up, and the engineering team members were afraid of the difficulty. It was too dangerous to lift the toilet. The neighbors raised the toilet from the window to comment; some people carried it to the end, but did not pretend, and all the lobbyists came. Rushing out, the door is locked, pretending that there is no one at home.

You can’t have a high-rise building on one side and the old people’s distress on the other

  The struggle between Shanghai and the toilet is tireless. The renovation from 1991 to 2006 was called "365 dilapidated shed and simple house renovation". At that time, more than 12 million square meters of old houses of various types were renovated, benefiting about 480,000 residents. Later, the cost of demolition and relocation rose rapidly. According to statistics, from 2007 to 2017, 7.7 million square meters of old houses were renovated, benefiting 310,000 residents; since 2017, the policy has changed from “demolition, reform and retention” to “retention, reform, and demolition at the same time to preserve protection Mainly".

  Maodoujia is the part that Shanghai wants to "stay". It is located on the periphery of Huaihai Road, intertwined with some old houses and other historical buildings. The exterior of the house has been painted very beautifully. It is a holy place for tourists to "check in", but the inside is a brick and wood structure, and it does not even have the conditions for installing an electric toilet.

  These old houses cannot be made into pieces, and the old houses interspersed in them are protected buildings and cannot be demolished. Transformation has become the biggest demand of residents. Residents on the first floor can carry a bucket of hot water and a bucket of cold water by the sewer to wash; but the residents upstairs have to prepare an empty bucket to hold dirty water. “It’s all wooden floors, and it’s impossible to build a bathroom. ".

  After graduating from graduate school, Maodou worked as an administrative job in a good company in Shanghai. He couldn't afford a new house, but the current life of the elderly neighbors made him particularly worried about his future "elder care problem". "The grandma on the 3rd floor climbs up and down the steep stairs every day. She had a minor operation a while ago, and she couldn't even hire a babysitter." Mao Dou said, seeing the babysitter coming four or five and seeing the environment here, They all declined to work, "They were all shocked, and they even had to pour the toilet. They all use flush toilets in the countryside."

  Maodou told reporters that the government has sent people to study the renovation on many occasions, seeing a group of experts shaking their heads and leaving. This was once the "Shangzhijiao" area in Shanghai. With the passage of time, houses in the old Pudong and Laozhabei "Xiazhijiao" areas have been demolished or remodeled, while the old town in the city center has become difficulty.

  However, Shanghai is gnawing at these "hard bones" bit by bit. Xu Yao, the head of the working class of the Office of the Leading Group for Urban Renewal and Old District Reconstruction in Shanghai, said that “hand-carrying the toilet” is a shortcoming of Shanghai’s people’s livelihood. According to the 2018 plan, the city’s non-renovated land and no sanitary facilities Old houses involve 26,000 households. In 2019, 9,000 households are planned to be renovated and 11,000 households are actually activated; in 2020, more than 9,000 households are planned to be activated.

  Xu Yao said that in 2020, except for the Huangpu District, Shanghai will start all the remaining non-renovated land plots and old houses without sanitation facilities. In other words, the Maodou's house in Xuhui District, even if it is difficult, will be included in the renovation in 2020. By his side, the "war" between Shanghai and the toilet continued.

  There was once a Shanghai leader who insisted on investigating in alleys every year during the rainy season. Yan Huimin remembered very clearly that the leader wore high overshoes, "Walking deep and shallow to the deepest part of the shanty town, while walking, while instructing the district leaders around us: we can’t have high-rise buildings on one side and old buildings on the other. The people here are in deep waters."

  China Youth Daily·China Youth Daily reporter Wang Yejie Video production Zhou Guanling Source: China Youth Daily