Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

China Continues Its 'Toilet Revolution'

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

China Continues Its 'Toilet Revolution'

Article excerpt

BEIJING * Fed up with the theft of toilet paper from public restrooms, tourist authorities in China's capital have begun using facial recognition technology to limit how much paper a person can take.

The unusual move part of a "toilet revolution" is another step in China's vast upgrading of public facilities.

Restrooms at tourist sites, notorious for primitive conditions and nasty odors, are a special focus of the campaign, a response to a vast expansion in domestic travel and demands for better-quality facilities from a more affluent public. "Today in China, people are highly enthusiastic about tourism, and we have entered a new era of public tourism," said Zhan Dongmei, a researcher with the China Tourism Academy. "The expectation of the public for the toilet is becoming higher."

At Beijing's 600-year-old Temple of Heaven, administrators recognized the need to stock the public restrooms with toilet paper, a requirement for obtaining a top rating from the National Tourism Authority. But they needed a means of preventing patrons from stripping it for personal use hence the introduction of new technology that dispenses just one 2-foot section of paper every nine minutes after a face scan.

"People take away the paper mostly because they are worried they can't find any when they want to use it the next time. …

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