Seeking Happiness for People: 70 Years of Progress on Human Rights in China
Improved housing conditions. Before the launch of reform and opening up in 1978, despite great difficulties, the government endeavored to address housing problems. At that time, housing was mainly provided by employers for workers in urban areas, while rural residents built their own houses. After 1978, urban housing reform was introduced to commercialize the sector, while the housing supply system was gradually improved. The housing conditions of urban and rural residents have improved markedly. In 2018, the per capita floor space of urban residents was 39.0 sq m, up by a factor of 5.8 from 1956, and that of rural residents was 47.3 sq m, up by a factor of 4.8 from 1978.
Since 2008, the government has introduced major construction projects to provide affordable housing to urban residents, and renovated dilapidated rural housing. By 2018, government subsidies had been used to build 70 million housing units in urban areas, 22 million poor people had received public rental subsidies, and 200 million poor people had received help for improving their housing conditions. The state has helped tens of millions of rural households move into proper accommodation, leaving their dilapidated houses built of such materials as beaten earth mixed with straw, adobe, timber and bark. There has been significant improvement in the capacity of rural housing to resist earthquakes and other natural disasters, and in the comfort level.
Efforts have been made in several areas:
・ improving the living environment in cities and the countryside;
・ carrying out environmental remediation and urban repair;
・ promoting energy-saving architecture and green architecture;
・ renovating existing buildings with energy-saving facilities;
・ furthering domestic sewage treatment and building a system of collecting, transporting and disposing of household garbage in rural areas.
By 2018, 84 percent of all administrative villages were provided with garbage treatment.