Complaints About Restrooms By Returnee Annoys Netizens


From Sina:

Taking Care Of Baby Awkwardness: China’s Restrooms, Definitely Chinese Characteristics

Bringing my daughter back to the country, I wanted to see all my relatives and good friends, and dining with guests was unavoidable. That one day, I was invited to Tang Song Fu [a restaurant] to eat, a rather impressive restaurant, said to be very high grade/quality, but speaking of grade/quality, it should of course not just cover  the quality of the food, price, and especially the service. The service staff brought a child seat for my daughter, and although it was a little dirty on the surface, it was still passable having been wrapped with Tang style designs/logos. As long as it can be used, it was fine.  After everyone finished merrily eating, I happily followed the waitress’s directions carrying my daughter to the restroom to change the diaper, but upon entering, I almost could not believe it. Such a large restaurant, such a lavish dining area, but only 6-7 square meters for the restroom! If it is so small, I could predict that there would not be a diaper changing table, but it would be fine as long as the wash basin counter area is big enough. I did not even think of nitpicking, and having an area the size of a palm large enough to let me change my baby’s diaper would have been enough.  However, it could not fit a one-year-old child. So, I will just put down the toilet cover and change on thet toilet cover, but when I look, there simply were no toilets, all of them were squatting toilets. Truly with no more options left, I carried my daughter and simply turned back. My poor child, better go home and take care of it.

Second incident, also an outside dinner party, after drinking several cups of a type of oolong tea, I immediately went to the restroom.  Again squatting toilets, but they are no longer strange to me, but after finishing, toilet paper cannot be found. This memory, how could I have forgotten that Chinese domestic restrooms do not provide toilet paper! So like this, I pulled up my clothes and came out, awkward to who knows what degree, this feeling,  truly makes me want to collapse!

Third incident, again taking my daughter out to dinner, and during the feasting, my daughter’s diaper had already swollen up to the extreme. This restaurant was okay, there was a long communal basin counter top between the mens and womens’ restroom, so I found a clean area, spread the changing cloth that came with Nestle’s milk powder, and changed my daughter.  Pleased, I raised my head and looked at the mirror before me, my god, there was a uniform line of service staff behind me in the mirror, their eyes all unblinkingly staring at me and my daughter. I truly felt awkward to death there, wishing my eyes were sewn shut. Here [in China], do not think of having privacy,  everything is exposed to everyone.

Fourth incident, went to take photographs of my daughter. This was at the foreigner-friendly Isetan department store, right, and I was thinking, this time there will definitely be a baby changing table. In the department store’s eye-catching directory map, I also clearly saw a baby changing room, so I was even more 100% confident that I must go to where foreigners frequent before demanding everything to be in line with international standards. While leaving after finishing taking the pictures, I was overjoyed to go to the restroom.  But! The place was pretty big, and I simply could not find the changing table I wanted to find. With regards to domestic restrooms, I have truly had enough, there is nothing I can say. This time, I thoroughly fainted [was disappointed and gave up]!

I once saw an investigation about this, when foreigners come to China, upon returning, if you ask them what was their deepest impressionn, “China’s restrooms” definitely will be in the top five. Didn’t real estate tycoon Pan Shiyi say before, if China can move the mountain of this restroom problem, tens of millions of children would have taken a big step towards the civilized world?

It appears that China’s bathrooms are absolutely a problem, and not a small problem either. This is something that someone coming back from abroad most deeply understands.

Thinking of Chairman Mao’s instruction, it can basically give us the conclusion, there basically is no such thing as a small thing in this world, because if you look from another angle, the small thing is absolutely big enough.


Comments from NetEase:


Lou zhu is too much a foreigner-worshipper. What is wrong with our China? You only seek your own convenience, but have damned China to this degree. I admit that our domestic service industry still has a very large room to improve in the humanization aspect, but you still cannot speak this extremely. If it is so comfortable outside of China, you should get out then. Even though our China is both dirty and messy, a thoroughly Chinese person would still not be this disgusted with it. There is a common saying that “a son does not think his mother ugly”, and you have even forgotten these ancient proverbs/sayings!!!


Hehe, lou zhu since you are comparing high quality restrooms from abroad with the fake high quality restrooms within the country, it is unfair. Have you never seen those splendid restrooms in those large Shenzhen Guangzhou hotels and high quality restaurants, they are probably even more clean than your bedroom! And you talk about toilet paper! On this point alone, we can determine you are through and through a false Chinese person who thinks oneself is some high class person.


Restrooms designed with squatting toilets is because our countrymen like to be clean, hygienic, and are afraid of contracting diseases. Lou zhu, have you never seen the 80s generation where all the public restrooms were seating toilets, causing all the ordinary common people to stand/squat on the toilets when they used them, causing many different people’s dissatisfaction? It was only after they changed to squatting toilets did this matter quiet down.

At any time, we can only look after the majority’s benefit/interests. Just because the lou zhu or some other people are not used to something, we cannot require the majority to cater to your point of view. I recommend the lou zhu first ask the restaurant about its restroom situation before going there and decide whether or not to go there to eat.


With housing prices so expensive and restrooms so small, lou zhu please just be a bit more tolerant/forgiving, okay? [and feel pity for normal Chinese]


Lou zhu is a stupid cunt, go back to your foreign country.


When China becomes strong and powerful, tell the foreigners to change [to China’s way]!


China’s restrooms are indeed very embarrassing, and especially public areas and tourist locations should pay attention to improving as soon as possible.


Kao, just returned from abroad? I originally though you were a foreigner! What is there to be unused to? Is it heaven abroad?
Just after a few days and this foreigner fucker has forgotten who she is! Die abroad and do not come back then!!


Making a big deal out of nothing, lou zhu, you…I welcome you to go to China’s poorer places and toughen yourself. Afterward, you will no longer complain about this or complain about that!


She did not care about her tone or what words she used, but the problem she described is still the main issue. This is an issue of individual people’s hygiene habits and has nothing to do with quality or patriotism. Habits are completely able to be changed. For example, flushing after use is very simple, yet so many people simply do not do it. the 17th floor [17th comment, referring to above translated comment by “dowje”] said restrooms are designed for squatting because our countrymen like to be hygienic, that sitting is not hygenic, but this is still dependent on how each person uses [the toilet] and has nothing to do with whether it is squatting or sitting. If the people who use sitting toilets all know how to be hygienic, then no one would consider it dirty. If you are afraid of contracting disease, very simple, place down some toilet paper first before sitting down and it will be taken care of. Sitting restrooms still must be preserved, and we must also take care of those elderly or those people who are unaccustomed to squatting toilets. So, it is bad habits that need to be changed, and this has nothing to do with patriotism, or would you rather other people say Chinese are dirty? What is so difficult to accept about our own family members self-criticizing behind closed doors? [Chinese people self-criticizing China in Chinese in China]?


Lou zhu, have you been to India before? I can guarantee you will be paralyze the moment you see India’s restrooms!


Comments from Sina:


I agree with your point! However, I do not agree with the tone of your voice!


Why make a mountain of a mole hill, it is not as if you did not know from before you first left China.


Everyone be a little more modest! China is this way, and at least in the recent 5 years there are still many places like this. Of course, there are also many places that can satisfy your demands. Therefore, think openly, and have a lenient heart. Look at your own country and think about what kind of efforts are needed to make her better rather than blindly complain.

As with anything, a part cannot be taken as the whole. Not all restrooms abroad are very high class (I have been to many European and American countries), and I think most of our restrooms in China are not bad. If we want to compare, we should compare restrooms of the same level.  America’s poor areas also have the same kind of outhouses as China’s countryside. Abroad is also not heaven, low class people and matters are also plenty. I have seen many domestic no-star restaurants and many highway rest stop area restrooms that are all not bad. Moreover, restrooms are mainly a place for relieving waste, so as long as it is clean enough it will do. Such high demands is a waste, as China still has many impoverished children who have problems getting an education.

Lou zhu says there are differences between the domestic situation and developed countries, we admit, but your tone of voice sounds like you hold a grudge against your homeland, criticizing domestic restrooms so harshly as if they were nothing. Maybe you had bad luck or something, and happened to use a restroom that just ran out of toilet paper. However, of the restaurants restrooms I have been to, a situation of not having toilet paper is rare.

Of course, we are a developing China, and the good aspects of developed countries we must actively learn from. The aspects we must learn from are many, but at present I do not think the restroom problem is as you say a “big problem.”


I want to say that I do not need these, even if it is a bit dirty, a bit inferior. If we have the money, it would be better to take it and go support poverty-stricken areas.
Do not use that foreign standard on China, China is not a developed country, and money needs to be spent where it is needed, so being able to squat is good enough, how can you have that many demands?
The various problems of restroom design in my perspective are simply not worth mentioning. All I ask for is that it be a little clean and hygienic and it will be fine. There are many more areas that need to be improved.

Also for those above commenter who say others cannot reach the grapes so call them sour, do you guys have brains? According to China’s economic level, is it necessary to construct restrooms as good as America’s? True, we should learn from where others are advanced, but it does not mean any advanced area should be learned, everything needs to be divided based upon priority/importance, and obviously restrooms are not considered important, unless the restrooms have somehow affected your healthy just by being small?
From my perspective, restroom upkeep already needs a large amount of expenses, it is not necessary to construct your restroom to be even more luxurious than the homes of ordinary common people in poverty-stricken areas just for your convenience.


Where are you from in China? China indeed has some backward places! For example, many mountain areas! I am in Beijing and I have never encountered a restaurant like the one you described~~I too am a “sea turtle” [海归, hai3 gui1, a Chinese who has studied overseas and returned to China]! If you are taking China’s remote mountain areas and comparing it to foreign capital cities, there will obviously be very big differences! I recommend you go walk around China’s large cities! That should change your point of view!


Before complaining, first think about what you yourself have done for your homeland.


I have the same feeling. I personally prefer squatting toilets, generally do not sit on public toilets, and if I do sit, I will first place paper [disposable seat cover], to be more hygienic. What I most cannot adapt to is not having toilet paper in so many of China’s public restrooms, maybe to conserve. However, if you think about it, if every restroom provided toilet paper, people would not do anything else with them, and would also definitely conserve paper. Having a baby just makes it more inconvenient, poor parents!


Our country still has many areas that are in urgent need of improvement. At the very least, we need to first help poor people receive medical attention and first help poor children go to school before we can satisfy your lofty demands for restrooms!


Her demand is not one bit too high, what she says is very true.



Written by Fauna

Fauna is a mysterious young Shanghainese girl who lives in the only place a Shanghainese person would ever want to live: Shanghai. In mid-2008, she started chinaSMACK to combine her hobby of browsing Chinese internet forums with her goal of improving her English. Through her tireless translation of popular Chinese internet news and phenomenon, her English has apparently gotten dramatically better. At least, reading and writing-wise. Unfortunately, she's still not confident enough to have written this bio, about herself, by herself.


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