Door opens on better homes for poor

Updated: 2013-06-27 01:44

By Zhao Lei (China Daily)

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"Other countries' experiences in renovating shantytowns have proved such projects are effective in elevating the quality of urbanization and reforming the unbalanced, unequal welfare system that is now haunting the underprivileged group in cities," said Zhang Xiulan, a professor with the school of social development and public policy at Beijing Normal University.

She said shantytown renovation had long been sidestepped by some local governments for a host of reasons such as financial inability or reluctant participation from property developers, but now much more attention has been attached to the problem.

"However, the government will face some tough issues in renovating shanties such as how to ensure the interests of migrant people living there."

Yi Peng, an expert of urban reforms from the National Development and Reform Commission, said: "Our economy is encountering some intractable obstacles, with industrial output and infrastructure far exceeding demand, and consumption lacking thrust.

"Considering that the reforms on distribution systems and service sectors will only take effect in the long term, I believe the decision to invest more in shantytown renovation will be a good choice to improve people's livelihood and stabilize the economy."

Some members of the public applauded the measure.

"I strongly support the government's decision because I lived in a very shabby house when I was a little boy so I know people living there are very eager to get a new, affordable house," said a netizen who used the name "Jianfeng1112" on Sina Weibo.

But another micro-blogger, "Guaijiaotuya", said: "The government must make sure that no corrupt officials can take advantage of the projects and that the new housing should be of good quality."

Professor Zhang said it is understandable that some will have doubts over the outcome of the project.

"To disperse the public's concerns, the government should integrate the measures with other social and economic policies, so that efforts from every field can work together to guarantee the success of the project.

"Discipline watchdogs should also strengthen their supervision on the implementation of shantytown renovation and facilitate scrutiny from the public."

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