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A "Toilet Revolution" Is Coming to Public Bathrooms in China

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Finding a public toilet while traveling in China is about to become much easier. The country is planning what has been dubbed as a “toilet revolution.” As part of a major investment—$290 billion—to boost tourism between now and 2020, the government wants to build or upgrade 100,000 public restrooms, according to Reuters and CityLab.

By 2020, China wants to increase its tourism industry from 10.8 percent of its yearly economic growth to 12 percent, and part of that means making it more comfortable and appealing for people—especially those who aren't used to squat toilets—to travel there. Positioning oneself over a smelly hole isn’t exactly on anyone’s list of exciting travel plans.

The plan will mostly target declining industrial cities in northern China, which the government hopes can remake themselves into tourist destinations.

According to the World Bank, only 77 percent of China has access to improved sanitation facilities, meaning that they provide hygienic separation of humans from excrement. (In comparison, the United States has 100 percent access.) Most of the areas lacking proper facilities are in rural China, though, which may not be hotbeds of tourist activity.

The China National Tourism Administration recently released a proposal for new sanitary standards for public toilets in tourist-heavy areas that include Western-style toilets, soap, no odors, and more. The bar for the highest restroom grade is pretty high, too—blowing any U.S. rest stop out of the water. To achieve a AAA rating, a restroom will have to broadcast music and provide services like wheelchair rentals. The new investment in public toilets will include upgrades to bring existing facilities closer to those standards.

[h/t CityLab]

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History
A Very Brief History of Chamber Pots

Some of the oldest chamber pots found by archeologists have been discovered in ancient Greece, but portable toilets have come a long way since then. Whether referred to as "the Jordan" (possibly a reference to the river), "Oliver's Skull" (maybe a nod to Oliver Cromwell's perambulating cranium), or "the Looking Glass" (because doctors would examine urine for diagnosis), they were an essential fact of life in houses and on the road for centuries. In this video from the Wellcome Collection, Visitor Experience Assistant Rob Bidder discusses two 19th century chamber pots in the museum while offering a brief survey of the use of chamber pots in Britain (including why they were particularly useful in wartime).

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Joe Scarnici/Getty Images for Tradesy
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Move Over, Golden Toilet: Now There’s a $100K Louis Vuitton Potty
Joe Scarnici/Getty Images for Tradesy
Joe Scarnici/Getty Images for Tradesy

In 2016, the Guggenheim Museum installed a one-of-a-kind, fully functional toilet made of solid gold, created by the Italian artist Maurizio Cattelan just for the museum. Now, there’s another insanely luxurious art-toilet to look out for—and this one you can take home.

Made by artist Illma Gore for the luxury resale platform Tradesy, the Loo-Uis Vuitton Toilet is covered in $15,000 worth of monogram leather ripped from Louis Vuitton bags. Everything but the inside of the bowl—which is gold—is covered in that instantly recognizable brown designer leather. It's one way to show your brand loyalty, for sure.

The toilet is fully functional, meaning, yes, you can poop in it—although that would require you (at some point) to clean the leather undersides of the seat, which sounds … gross. But then again, the leather is brown, so do what you will.

A toilet art piece stands under a pink neon sign that reads ‘No Fake Shit.’
Joe Scarnici/Getty Images for Tradesy

Does sitting on it feel like using those squishy-soft toilet seats your grandma has? Please let us know, because we don’t have the $100,000 it would take to buy it for ourselves. Note that while the site sells used goods, the description makes sure to specify that this one is new.

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