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Oddly Enough

No more squatting in Water Cube toilets, Beijing says

BEIJING (Reuters) - Beijing organizers are refitting the toilets at three main Olympic venues after complaints from foreign athletes about having to squat, an official said on Wednesday.

Most toilets in China are still of the squat rather than sit-down variety, as spectators and competitors at recent test events in otherwise state of the art venues like the “Water Cube” aquatics centre discovered.

“In my personal point of view, there are cultural differences between Chinese and Western people. Chinese are more used to squat toilets,” said Yao Hui, a senior official responsible for the management of Olympic venues.

“Toilet alteration projects at the Bird’s Nest (National Stadium), the Water Cube and National Indoor Stadium are ongoing and if technical conditions permit, all the toilets in these stadiums will be changed.”

A similar project will be expanded to more of the 31 venues in the city, he added.

“We will change the toilets in as many as we can, especially those for the key clients, athletes, Olympic family members and the media.”

Beijing has 5,200 public toilets, the Beijing Evening Post reported earlier this month, more than any city in the world.

Yao said he believed that eventually, the majority of Chinese would use the sit-down variety of toilet, as people do in large parts of the developed world.

“The Olympics is an opportunity to speed up the transition,” he said.

The Beijing Olympics run from August 8 to 24.

(editing by Nick Mulvenney)

Take a look at the Countdown to Beijing blog at blog s.reuters.com/china

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