China takes measures to address aging population issue (09/23/02)

As the world's most populous country, China is taking active measures to address the problem of its aging population.

While China's present population of persons over the age of 60 is 132 million, this figure is expected to climb to 400 million during the first half of the 21st century.

At that time, the population of persons over the age of 80 will increase to 100 million from the current figure of 13 million. It is estimated that one of every five elderly persons in the world will be Chinese.

Li Baoku, vice-minister of Civil Affairs, said the Chinese government is very concerned about this issue and has incorporated possible solutions into its national economic and social development plan.

Special government organs have been set up at both the central and local government levels to deal with this issue, said Li, also president of the China National Committee on Aging.

Li made the remarks at the Asia-Pacific Seminar on Regional Follow-up to the Second World Assembly on Aging, which was opened on Sept. 23 in Shanghai.

Li told the seminar that a social security network for the elderly has been established in China. Some 50,000 welfare institutions throughout the country are providing care, exercise and cultural activities for elderly persons.

A law on the protection of the interests and rights of the elderly, along with a number of local regulations, has been enacted in China, in order to provide senior citizens with support, medical care and general well-being.

In addition, about 40 percent of total elderly persons in China are still willing to continuously involve in varied social activities after retirement.

Li said most of the 5 million retired intellectuals in China are under the age of 70. It is planned to send those healthy veteran doctors, teachers and technicians to contribute to the development of western regions in the country.

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