NPC deputy proposes improved care for elderly, school-age children

By Guo Yiming
0 Comment(s)Print E-mail, March 11, 2021
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Xu Wenguang, a deputy to the 13th NPC and secretary of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Quzhou Municipal Committee. [Photo provided to]

Xu Wenguang, secretary of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Quzhou Municipal Committee, called for improved care and services for the elderly and school-age children during this year's session of the National People's Congress (NPC), the country's top legislature.

In one of his proposals submitted to the session, the deputy to the 13th NPC called for the country to give more care to its senior residents, especially those with only one child in their families, as China transitions to an aging society.

At the end of 2019, China had 254 million people aged 60 or above, accounting for 18.1% of the national population. The number is expected to exceed 300 million in the next five years, according to the Ministry of Civil Affairs. 

This has brought unprecedented challenges to the traditional form of home-based elderly care, creating a growing number of empty nesters and giving mounting pressure to those families with only one child, Xu said. 

He called for policy support for senior citizens with one or no children through measures such as providing additional living allowances as well as discounts for those who choose to live in nursing homes.  

He also said that he hopes the society will pay more attention to the physical and mental wellbeing of seniors who have lost their children, and suggested government organizations to provide mental care to those people through volunteering services.

In another proposal on school-age children, Xu said China should scale up the practice of providing lunch to students in primary and secondary schools to ensure that they have sufficient food and nutrients intake, reduce infection risks during the COVID-19 pandemic, and relieve parents' burdens.

In response to issues on students' after-school hours, Xu wrote in his proposal suggesting schools set up student care centers that offer homework supervision, tutoring, and other services.

He said these centers on school grounds can provide students from disadvantaged backgrounds with a structured environment that they may not otherwise have access to. "They are also opportunities to cultivate good work habits and discipline among the students," Xu said.

"Moreover, parents who don't have time to pick up their kids on time won't have to worry, as their kids will be in a safe and familiar environment," he said.

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