Let all Chinese live in peace and contentment

16:39, September 22, 2009      

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In 60 years since the founding of New China, and in particular since reform and opening-up, and with the progress achieved in housing reform and development, the housing conditions of Chinese people have continuously improved.

Moreover, since reform and opening-up, the average per capita living space has increased from 6.7 square meters in 1978 to nearly 30 square meters today.

"Personal experience in the housing reform – the direction of China’s housing reform has been in line with the development of the socialist market economy and is correct."

"Comfortable housing" has been the simple wish of common Chinese people since ancient times. Today, the housing issue has become one of the most important issues concerning people's livelihood. "Central government has restructured the former Ministry of Construction into the Ministry of Housing and Urban-Rural Development (MOHURD). Putting 'Housing' at the forefront under the MOHURD highlights the particular attention paid by both the CPC Central Committee and the State Council to the housing issue concerning people's livelihood," said Jiang Weixin, Minister of the MOHURD. Jiang is well aware of the significant responsibility he shoulders when mentioning the MOHURD, established last year.

In 60 years since the founding of New China, and in particular since reform and opening-up, with the progress achieved in the housing reform and housing development, living conditions of Chinese people have continuously improved. "During a long period since the founding of New China, the housing of China's urban residents was fully distributed in a planned way. Everyone had to wait 'in line' to get access to housing from the government. It was difficult for many people to improve their housing conditions," said Jiang. The remarks about changes in housing over the past 60 years caused Jiang to recall the past, "I started working in 1974 after graduation and lived with one roommate in a bachelor flat. If one young roommate got married, the other one would have to sleep in temporarily empty beds in other rooms moving "like a guerrilla".

With China's accelerated industrialization and urbanization as well as a rapidly growing urban population, the weakness of the unitary administrative housing supply system was becoming increasingly noticeable: it was a huge fiscal burden and progress in improving housing conditions of the public was slow, with around 47.5 percent of urban households facing a shortage of or no access to housing.

With this situation, in the early 1980's, Comrade Deng Xiaoping put forward a tentative plan to reform the urban housing system and accelerate urban housing development. China started to implement the urban housing system reform targeting the commercialization and socialization of housing. In 1984, China officially initiated housing moneytarization reform pilot projects.

However, the housing reform also affected the psychology of the public. Jiang added, "People who had gotten used to 'waiting for distribution of free house' for years abruptly had to use their own money to buy houses, which required a process of conceptual shift." Like most of the masses, Jiang himself also experienced this conceptual shift. “However, the impact was normal. To develop a socialist market economy, the commercialization and marketization of housing is necessary and an inevitable trend."

Since reform and opening-up, the pace and extent of the improvement in housing conditions of the public are amazing. Per capita housing area has increased from 6.7 square meters in 1978 to nearly 30 square meters. Aside from the increased housing area, the function, environment and quality of housing all have greatly improved," said Jiang, "the overwhelming majority of the public has benefited from the housing reform, proving that the direction of China's housing reform has been in line with the development of the socialist market economy and is correct."
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