China issues white paper on undertakings for aged

Updated: 2006-12-12 10:42

Li Bengong, executive deputy director of the China National Committee on Aging, speaking at a press conference on the white paper outlining programs for senior citizens in Beijing on December 12, 2006. [CIIC]

China published a white paper on Tuesday, illustrating the development of its undertakings for the aged over the past two decades and its plans for the near future. [full text of the white paper]  

The white paper, the first of its kind, introduces China's policies, laws and regulations, its security system and medical care network for the aged.

It also introduces China's social services for the aged, senior citizens' participation in social development and China's efforts in safeguarding elderly people's legitimate rights and interests.

The white paper, with more than 10,000 Chinese characters, was released by the Information Office of the State Council, China's cabinet.

According to the white paper, by the end of 2005, China had nearly 144 million people aged over 60, accounting for 11 percent of its entire population.

"At present, the population of senior citizens in China is growing by three percent every year," says the white paper.

It says China's population had entered the ageing stage by the end of the 20th century as the proportion of people aged 60 and above in China accounted for over ten percent of the entire population.

"For years, the state has made great efforts to promote the cultural tradition of the Chinese nation ...and taken effective measures to explore a development mode of undertakings for the aged that fits China's conditions," says the white paper.

The Chinese government, the white paper says, "has considered undertakings for the aged an important part of balanced social and economic development as well as of the building of a harmonious society, and has adopted economic, legal and administrative measures to constantly promote the development of undertakings for the aged."

The white paper says the task of solving problems concerning elderly people and continuously promoting the development of undertakings for the aged remains an arduous one to China, a developing country with a population of 1.3 billion.

It says as the number of elderly people keeps increasing and ageing of population accelerates, and due to the country's uneven development, one big challenge that China is facing in its social development is how to guarantee the legitimate rights and interests of the elderly people and promote the development of undertakings for the aged.

"Facing the growing challenge of the ageing population, the Chinese government will adopt more effective strategies to promote the undertakings for the aged in coordination with economic and social development, in order to enable senior citizens to share the fruits of economic and social development," says the white paper.

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