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Last Updated: Wednesday, 17 November, 2004, 08:08 GMT
Toilet summit opens in Beijing
By Louisa Lim
BBC, Beijing

A Chinese man uses a public toilet in Beijing (17/11/04)
Beijing toilets have been told to clean up their act
The fourth world toilet summit has opened in Beijing with declarations that having a loo is a human right.

Four hundred delegates from around the world are spending three days discussing the humble water closet.

At the opening ceremony, Chinese officials admitted their public amenities are not up to the mark.

Organisers say it is an attempt to break the taboo surrounding toilets, which is preventing developing countries from tackling the issue.

The founder of the World Toilet Organisation, Jack Sim, said that when it came to sanitation, people ought to demand more.

In the past, there were women's liberation, leprosy, Aids, the sexual revolution. All these are taboos that have been broken. The toilet problem is probably the last one
Jack Sim, WTO
"The entire toilet movement is taking on the world scale. People are saying, 'We want good toilets'....because you see a toilet is a basic human right and this basic human right has been neglected. So the world deserves better toilets," he said.

Host China is famous for its smelly toilets and officials admitted that 60% of foreign visitors are dissatisfied with Chinese loos.

But it seems the next revolution in the Chinese capital will transform its WCs with large scale investment and building planned before Beijing hosts the Olympic Games in 2008.

Delegates declare the humble loo a human right

Worldwide drive to keep loos clean
17 Nov 03 |  Asia-Pacific
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19 Nov 01 |  Asia-Pacific
Singapore's super-loos
25 Aug 98 |  Asia-Pacific

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