Why is there no toilet paper or soap in most Chinese bathrooms? “People will steal it,” my friends told me.
I always thought, Who would steal toilet paper? But when authorities put a toilet paper roll into the bathroom at the Temple of Heaven earlier this month, the Beijing Evening News caught people (especially elderly people) taking huge amounts of toilet paper home for personal use.
Later they installed a mechanism that requires toilet-users to have a photo taken before automatically dispensing 2 feet of paper.
As for soap, Chinese could adopt an innovation from Korea: bar soap on a stick.
Mitchell Blatt is a travel writer, editor, and columnist who has lived and worked in China for six years. He is an author of two guidebooks, Panda Guides Hong Kong and Panda Guides China. He has been published in National Interest.org, The Korea Times, The Shanghai Daily, Roads & Kingdoms, Vagabond Journey, City Weekend, Silkwinds and The World of Chinese, among other outlets. See examples of his published articles.