A: We have noticed that the number of people above the age of 60 in China has exceeded 100 million, accounting for more than 10 percent of the total population. This shows that China has become an aging society. What measures has the Chinese Government taken to ensure the elderly have a pleasant life in their later years?
At the beginning of the 21st century, China became listed among countries with an aging population. According to statistics, 130 million people are above the age of 60, accounting for more than 10 percent of the country's total population; by the year 2025, the number will grow to 280 million, accounting for 18.4 percent; and by the year2050, the number will be around 400 million, accounting for more than 25 percent.
In order to realize the UN's development goal of "A Society for All Ages," the Chinese Government has promulgated the Law on the Protection of Elderly People's Rights and Interests, which is intended to integrate issues concerning the aged into overall social and economic development planning. As a result, the government has begun to play a leading role in affairs concerning the elderly, with the participation of all social sectors.
Since China has a large elderly population, it's impossible to carry out welfare policies as in some developed countries. Thus, based on its national condition, China can only put into practice a policy that requires the state, society, families and individuals to share the responsibility.
In traditional Chinese culture, it's an obligation for adult children to support their elderly parents, so most senior people spend their later years living with their families. This has helped to spare the state a significant amount of funds and keep the stability of society. It has also contributed to a happy life for older people. At the same time, the development of community services to support the aged has been accelerated in urban areas. This is a good practice as the elderly people can live close to their children, and neighbors in the same community are encouraged to help each other. In rural areas, the life of older people is similarly assured through the support of their families and society at large.
In many places, special measures have been taken to assist poor elderly and the senile, with a view to ensuring that older people with low incomes or without incomes have a basic standard of living. In terms of medical care, great efforts have been made to meet the basic medical requirements of older people. The basic medical insurance scheme for employees and workers in urban areas is being improved, establishing a multilateral medicare system. In rural areas, efforts are being made to develop a new type of cooperative medical care and health service system, which has helped improve the medical care of poor elderly people.
Moreover, China has improved the working system for the aged, and stepped up the construction of a community-based service network. Community clinics, nursing homes, activity centers as well as entertainment squares for older people are being developed, through which all kinds of cultural and sports activities have been carried out, encouraging the aged to take part in social activities.
Over the past 15 years, while older people's material lives have been improved, their cultural lives are being enriched. The development of senior citizen-related welfare, education, cultural and sports activities, medical care and health service has provided a better quality of life for the aged, creating a good environment for people in their later years.
At the same time, we should never neglect the fact that China became a society with an aging population while its economy remained underdeveloped. The large number and the rapid growth of the aging population have brought about lots of difficulties for social support of the aged. The key to solving the problems accruing with the swelling numbers of senior citizens lies in developing the economy.