I. State Mechanism of Undertakings for the Aged
China's goals for the development of undertakings for the aged can be described as follows: All elderly people are to be provided for and enjoy proper medical care. They are to be given opportunities to pass on their experience as well as to learn new things. They should be given the opportunity to do what they can for the society, while enjoying their later years. In recent years, the Chinese government has worked positively toward these goals. It has strengthened formulation of laws, regulations and policies regarding elderly people, worked out development plans for undertakings for the aged, perfected the work system for care of the elderly, encouraged the extensive involvement of the whole society in efforts to care for the aged, and conducted international exchanges and cooperation in this regard.
Since the founding of the People's Republic of China in 1949, the state has promulgated a number of laws, regulations and policies with regard to elderly people, covering such areas as social security, welfare, services, hygiene, culture, education and sports, as well as the protection of the rights and interests of elderly people and related industries. Over the past 20 years or so, the National People's Congress and its Standing Committee, the State Council, and departments concerned have promulgated some 200 laws, regulations and policies concerning elderly people. A framework of laws, regulations and policies in this regard has been established with the Constitution of the People's Republic of China as its foundation, and the Law of the People's Republic of China on the Protection of the Rights and Interests of Elderly People as its backbone, together with other relevant laws, administrative regulations, local regulations, rules, regulations and related policies formulated by departments of the State Council and local governments.
The Chinese government has promulgated and implemented the Seven-Year Development Outline on Work Concerning Elderly People in China (1994-2000), Outline of the Tenth Five-Year Plan for the Development of China's Undertakings for the Aged (2001-2005) and Eleventh Five-Year Plan for the Development of China's Undertakings for the Aged. Relevant departments under the State Council and local people's governments at all levels have formulated action plans for work concerning elderly people in their departments and plans for the development of undertakings for the aged in their localities. The state has established a supervision and evaluation system to conduct mid-term and final checks on the implementation of these plans, to ensure that they are properly put into practice. It has also established a system of statistical indices for undertakings for the aged and a statistical work system which will provide basic data to help the formulation of plans, supervision and evaluation in this field. Since the 1980s, China has conducted three nationwide surveys on the elderly population, which have provided an important basis for scientific decision-making as regards undertakings for the aged.
The State Council has established the China National Committee on Ageing to plan, coordinate and guide this work nationwide. It studies and formulates development strategies and major policies for undertakings for the aged; coordinates the relevant departments and guides them to implement the development plans for undertakings for the aged; and leads, supervises and checks the work at local levels. A vice-premier of the State Council serves as the director of the China National Committee on Ageing, which comprises 26 state-level departments, with one senior leader equivalent to a vice-minister from each department as its representative. An office under the committee is responsible for routine work. Committees on ageing and related routine work offices have been established throughout the country at the provincial (autonomous region, municipality directly under the central government), prefectural (city, league), county (city, district, banner) and township (urban community) levels. Village and neighborhood committees have special personnel engaged in undertakings for the aged. These committees and offices have formed a complete network all the way from the central government down to the grassroots level.
Through policies and public opinion guidance, the state is actively engaged in creating a social environment for the development of undertakings for the aged, leading the public at large to be concerned with, support and participate in the development of undertakings for the aged. It also uses the market mechanism to guide and assist enterprises and public institutions in providing various products and services for elderly people. It has mobilized all social resources to help national and local ageing-related societies in their fund-raising campaigns, to organize large recreational and sports activities for the aged, to conduct scientific research on ageing and develop education for elderly people. In addition, the state encourages mass organizations and volunteers throughout the country to enrich elderly people's spiritual and cultural lives, and provide various services for them.
The Chinese government dispatched high-level delegations to the first and second world conferences on ageing held by the United Nations, and other international and regional conferences on ageing. It hosted the Follow-up Action Conference for the Asia-Pacific Area of the UN's Second World Conference on Ageing, as well as several international and regional conferences on ageing. It took part in formulating and actively implemented international ageing action plans and the Asia-Pacific region's ageing action plans. China actively engages in multilateral and bilateral global and regional exchanges and cooperation in the field of ageing. It has joined six international organizations engaged in this work, and has established business contacts with related organizations in more than 90 countries and regions. It has worked on cooperative projects with relevant agencies of the United Nations, the European Union, and governmental and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) of some countries in scientific research on ageing, helping elderly people out of poverty and education for elderly people.