GUANGZHOU: The poor could be booted out of government subsidized housing for frequent spitting under a draft plan being considered in Guangdong province.
The Guangzhou land resources and housing management bureau said that tenancy would be terminated if the tenant recorded too many "misdeeds" within a two-year period.
Under the draft punishment plan, believed to be the first of its kind on the Chinese mainland and resembling a marking plan in Hong Kong, misdeeds include spitting, littering and parking outside designated areas.
All misdeeds carry penalty points that vary depending on the seriousness of the offense. If the offender accumulates more than 20 points within two years, tenancy is terminated.
Spitting carries three points, which means the tenant could be evicted if he is caught spitting on seven occasions.
Xie Xiaodan, director of the Guangzhou land resources and housing management bureau, said affordable housing communities are an important public resource and the government must strengthen supervision.
The plan would ensure the fair and efficient usage of these resources, Xie added.
However, an editorial in the Guangzhou-based New Express Daily said that if it is the duty of the government to provide housing to lower income people, then the government should not abandon this duty simply because of the moral level of tenants.
Legal and social punishments already exist for spitting and littering, so why should these offenses be doubly punished, the editorial questioned.
It asked whether tenants were being discriminated against simply because they were poor.
The editorial also said some of the misdeeds were related to the management of the community and that the success of the Hong Kong plan was disputed.
Zheng Fenming, director of the scientific development and public policy research center of the Guangdong Academy of Social Sciences, said affordable housing is a social relief practice and if its application is locked with the punishment scheme then the purpose of this housing is violated.
Zheng said spitting is a social problem and groups should not be singled out and targeted for doing so.
Chen Lin, director of the real estate research institute at Guangzhou University, said affordable housing is built with taxpayers' money and it is reasonable to expect supervision of its tenants.
However for misdeeds such as spitting, Chen suggested warning and exhortation would be more successful.
Under the draft plan released on Tuesday, tenants would be formally warned if they accumulated 15 points or three misdeeds.
A family forced to leave a unit for violating the rules would be able to apply for a temporary transit unit and after one year, reapply for a unit in an affordable housing community if they still met the criteria.
The bureau is currently inviting public opinion on the draft plan.