Beijing has adopted new measures encouraging non-governmental institutions and individuals to invest in care centers for aged citizens in the national capital.
According to the measures, all welfare institutions for the aged, orphans and abandoned infants and rehabilitation centers run by non-governmental institutions or individuals, or by other organizations without government funding, can apply to local civil affair departments for 100 yuan (US$12.09) in government subsidies for each bed monthly.
The measures also stipulate that welfare service agencies for disabled people (excluding medical institutions) and homes for the aged, which are owned by the government but operated with private funds, can apply for a 50-yuan government subsidies per bed monthly.
An official with the Beijing Municipal Bureau of Civil Affairs said that Beijing municipal government will no longer directly build care centers for the aged in the future but only build some pilot social welfare organizations.
The official said that providing sufficient beds for aged citizens has been a grave financial burden on local government, adding currently, the government has to spend 40,000 yuan (about US$4,800) for each bed annually in order to maintain normal operation of existing homes for the aged.
The official said, however, the existing institutions are far from meeting the demand. There are only 1.5 beds for every 100 of Beijing's 1.88 million people aged 60 and above.
Figures from the Beijing municipal civil affairs bureau show that Beijing now has 78 nursing homes for the aged run by businesses, social institutions and individuals, with their beds accounting for one-third of the city's total.
Beijing also has eight welfare institutions for the disabled which are run with non-governmental funds, but not a single non-governmental care center for orphans and abandoned infants.
Government subsidies seem to be good news to operators of private care centers for the aged.
Cui Yanling, vice-president of Taifuchun Nursing Home, based in Yizhuang Town in suburban Beijing, said that they have invested more than four million yuan (US$483,000) in the home since its establishment six years ago and they still have a deficit of over 800,000 yuan (more than US$96,700).
Taifuchun home has 240 beds, which are fully occupied. "We can get 288,000 yuan (more than US$34,800) in government subsidies annually and the sum is enough for us to pay the rent," Cui said.
(Xinhua News Agency April 19, 2005)