China's Toilet Revolution
Multiply the strength of his hold on power by China’s growing international importance and it’s clear that Xi Jinping is the single most powerful man on Earth. Two years ago, Xi launched a “toilet revolution” to improve quality of life in the countryside. At the time, according to Chinese media, 25 percent of rural homes had neither flush toilets nor dry toilets with underground storage tanks. Tens of thousands of new toilets have since been installed, and Xi this week called for faster progress.
Toilets or not, China is no closer to becoming a democracy, and its people lack basic political rights and freedoms. But at a time when so many world leaders seem to have no idea and little interest in how ordinary people live, the world’s most powerful man has proven willing to invest his prestige in the most basic of sustainable development projects.