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29 August



JING鈥橝N                     Zhao Qiufang, who lives in the Jing鈥檃nsi Community for more than 30 years, is proud to show off her new bathroom. She said it has
                            given her impetus to clean up all the environment in her lane apartment. 鈥?Jiang Xiaowei

                                Farewell to chamber pots,
                            old homes get modern makeover

Scan on WeChat to have      Li Qian                                    years ago. Dilapidated structures           Zhao Qiufang takes her enamel chamber pot out
real-time update of what鈥檚                                             that could be salvaged have been re-        to the garbage heap for the last time. 鈥?Ma Chao
happening in the district.  The last 144 families living               inforced. Crumbling pipes have been
(Chinese only)                          in the Jing鈥檃nsi Community     replaced, and private kitchens and          鈥淚t鈥檚 liberation! We used
                                        are finally saying goodbye to  bathrooms installed.                        to have to dump the
                                        wooden matong and enamel                                                   excrement from chamber
                            tanyu 鈥?Chinese chamber pots 鈥?               This month, the last chamber pot in      pots at a roadside venue.
                            thanks to a district campaign to           the Jing鈥檃nsi Community was thrown          That was embarrassing,
                            upgrade living conditions in dilapi-       out after a family had a private toilet     especially since we live
                            dated shikumen (stone-gate houses)         built in their apartment.                   in the downtown area of
                            neighborhoods.                                                                         such a modern city.鈥?                                                                          鈥淲e have different solutions to
                               Many residences in the commu-           different problems,鈥?said Ye Zhijian,       Zhao Qiufang
                            nity were created by carving up            chief of the Party committee working        A resident who has lived in a cramped
                            single buildings into multiple small       with the community.                         unit on Changshu Road for 34 years
                            flats. That meant no room for private
                            toilets.                                      鈥淲e either put toilets in homes, or
                                                                       create a modern public space for a
                               鈥淚 could never be persuaded to use      row of flush toilets, with one assigned
                            a chamber pot myself,鈥?said Ruth           to each family, or we install a public
                            Zimmerman, a former Jewish refu-           bathroom shared by two families
                            gee, in the documentary 鈥淪urvival in       close to their homes,鈥?he said.
                            Shanghai.鈥?                                                                          Zhao lives with her son, daughter-in-
                               She escaped Nazi Germany with           law and grandson in a 12-square-meter
                            her mother from Hamburg in 1939,           apartment. Since it was too small to
                            when she was 9. Every morning, her         install a bathroom, officials built one
                            Chinese neighbors waited in a line on      on an abandoned plot just in front of
                            the doorstep for a big wooden cart to      her house.
                            come by and collect the chamber pot
                            contents.                                     She shares the 2-square-meter
                                                                       bathroom with a neighbor, and the
                               鈥淗ave you ever heard of the famous      two families paid extra money to get
                            old German cologne brand 4711?鈥?           a washing machine and bathing fa-
                            Zimmerman said on camera, laugh-           cilities installed alongside the flush
                            ing. 鈥淥ne day, I saw that number on        toilet.
                            one of the carts.鈥?                                                                          鈥淚t鈥檚 liberation!鈥?Zhao declared. 鈥淲e
                               For Chinese locals today, there is      used to have to dump the excrement
                            little to laugh about if their homes       from chamber pots at a roadside
                            are dilapidated, dirty and even            venue. That was embarrassing, espe-
                            unsanitary.                                cially since we live in the downtown
                                                                       area of such a modern city.鈥?                               鈥淭he chamber pots were so smelly
                            and embarrassing to use,鈥?said Zhao           By day, she said, she preferred to
                            Qiufang, who has lived in a cramped        walk five minutes to the nearest public
                            unit on Changshu Road for 34 years.        restroom to use the toilets. But at night,
                                                                       she still had to use a chamber pot.
                               Her home is common in the Jing鈥檃nsi
                            Community, which has many old lanes           Improving the lifestyle of residents
                            and buildings. To many people, their       can change their whole perspective.
                            鈥渞etro鈥?look is a beautiful reminder of
                            the past, but go beyond the fa莽ade and        鈥淓nvironment can change a per-
                            the picture of those living in rundown     son,鈥?Zhao said. 鈥淚 used to keep every
                            conditions is more grim.                   used bottle I could find so I could
                                                                       sell them. My home became a dump.
                               A program to renovate old buildings     But after we received our new toilet,
                            across Jing鈥檃n District began several      I threw all that old stuff away. I want
                                                                       to live in a clean environment.鈥?/code>
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