Shantytown reconstruction not only improves people’s lives, but is also helpful to the real estate market, said Premier Li Keqiang while inspecting a shantytown area in Jinan, capital city of Shandong province, on April 21.
The area, inhabited by about 4,760 households, is part of Jinan’s shantytown reconstruction plan of 2017.
“Shantytown reconstruction is an important livelihood project to pay off what the government owed to the people throughout history. It is also conducive to China’s new-type urbanization, as well as the stable and healthy development of the real estate market,” the Premier told local officials.
At the home of Zhang Shirong, an elderly resident who has been living there for 42 years, Premier Li learned that she has been using a carbon furnace to stay warm in the winter. However, after experiencing gas poisoning a couple of times, she no longer dares to light a fire at night, and uses three quilts to bear the winter cold.
Accompanied by Zhang, the Premier walked into the inner room, and opened the wardrobe, which was full of quilts.
Surrounded by high-rise buildings, the shantytown seems dilapidated, with no heating or water supply and drainage system. “Shantytowns are depressions in the city, so our task is to elevate them,” the Premier said, reassuring local residents that the government will make every effort to provide new houses for them.
He then visited the home of Wang Guilan, an 87-year-old who has been living there for 56 years with her husband. Holding the Premier’s hand, the old woman asked when they could move into a new house. Premier Li then asked local officials to give a clear timeline. Hearing the answer was next year, the Premier said, “This is your promise to the shantytown residents, and you must keep it!”