When presiding over the State Council executive meeting on June 17, Premier Li Keqiang recalled the shantytowns in cities he visited during inspection tours.
“I saw tens of thousands residents crowded into the shantytowns, a huge contrast to the scene of clusters of tall buildings in the same city. And the shantytowns can’t even provide their residents with basic living conditions,” the Premier said in a somber tone.
The meeting decided that the government will speed up efforts to renovate shantytowns and dilapidated houses as well as upgrade the infrastructure around them, which the Premier believes is an important part in benefiting people’s lives and maintaining social stability.
“We should consider the financial input and output from renovation of shantytowns, we should also think about the political elements in this,’’ he said. “With more than 100 million Chinese people still living in the shantytowns, how can we achieve equality without solving their problems?”
Compared to the situation in Latin America, where some experts believe that the best chance of renovating slums has been missed, the Premier believes that China has a great opportunity at this stage of its development to seize the chance to boost efforts to tackle the situation.
The Premier emphasized that renovating shantytowns is a task that must be implemented in promoting a new type of human-oriented urbanization, and in solving the problems of the three “100 million people”. This refers to a target date of 2020 that will see about 100 million migrant workers who reside in urban areas registered with a hukou, the shantytowns and “remaining villages in towns and cities” where about 100 million live will be renovated, and about 100 million people in the middle and western regions will be urbanized.
“What kind of urbanization is it if migrant workers have moved to the cities but still have to live in shantytowns, a kind of residency that is even worse than their previous ones in rural areas?” the Premier asked.
The Premier also stresses that “quality in construction is of the utmost importance’’ when renovating the shantytowns.