43,900-USD Public Toilet Sparks Debate in East China
    2010-05-18 19:07:32     Xinhua      Web Editor: Zhang Jin
 
It's adorned with flowers, has wooden floors, a water dispenser, air conditioning, and an LED TV mounted on the wall.

But it is not a hotel room - its a public toilet.

The 100-square-meter toilet in an urban-rural fringe area in Huaiyin District, Jinan, capital city of eastern China's Shandong Province, also has a lounge with sofas and a tea table.

The luxurious toilet which cost 300,000 yuan (43,940 U.S. dollars) has sparked controversy after its public opening Friday.

"The decorations are much better than those in my living room," said a local resident who declined to be named. "But who will enjoy drinking tea and watching TV in a toilet?"

Many citizens have blasted the expense as a waste of taxpayers' money, saying only cleanliness and tidiness are necessary for a public toilet.

Wang Yan, another local resident, said the money should have been used on more important things, like health care and education.

"This waste of money highlights the loopholes in public management and may damage the government's credibility," said Wang Zhongwu, a professor from Shandong University.

An official surnamed Zhang at the Huaiyin district environmental sanitation bureau defended the luxurious toilet, saying it was a face-lifting move.
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