china toilet
A golden toilet in Hong Kong (file picture) Getty

Forget the Industrial Revolution or the Velvet Revolution, China plans to have its very own toilet revolution.

In an effort to boost tourism, Reuters reported the country aims to spend 2 trillion yuan ($290 billion) between 2016 and 2020 to boost its infrastructure.

That includes investment to regenerate fledgling industrial cities and crumbling roads, but a chunk of the funds will be earmarked for improving the public lavatories in China.

The promises for a toilet revolution were prompted after widespread complaints about the hygiene of the existing facilities.

As a result, the Chinese state has announced it will build 100,000 new toilets across the country.

The most notorious offenders singled out for complaints were the squat toilets, also known as squatty potties, and – as the name implies – there is no seat for users.

Often, they are made worse by the lack of privacy, as the Telegraph's travel writer Natalie Paris explains: "Chinese toilets are widely considered to be the pits. In many cases, they actually are a row of pits, separated by nothing but low walls – no cubicles, no doors, no privacy.

"Going to a public toilet in China, especially one located at the side of a motorway, essentially means squatting above a trench while contributions from those at your elbows wash leisurely past beneath you.

"Don't look down and don't make eye-contact are good rules for visiting travellers – ones that the locals don't always observe. I have a friend who was offered a drag on a cigarette by the man squatting next to him in one public lavatory. Incidentally, the chap was also managing to read a newspaper spread across his knees at the same time."

However, these will be replaced by more Western-friendly toilets, already in place in cities such as Beijing and Shanghai.

If all goes to plan, China hopes to draw in 16 million more travellers a year, increasing its visitor figures from 134 million to 150 million by 2020. If not, it would be money flushed down the loo.