Wen joins seniors to celebrate festival

Updated: 2011-09-13 06:31


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BEIJING - With billiards, table tennis and laughters, Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao on Monday joined elderly people at a Beijing nursing home to celebrate this year's Mid-Autumn Festival, a traditional occasion in China for family reunion.

Wen joins seniors to celebrate festival

Premier Wen Jiabao listens to Cheng Lianzhong, a veteran serviceman who was blinded in the line of duty, in the Beijing No 1 Social Welfare Center, on Monday, this year’s Mid-Autumn Festival. Wen paid a visit to the center to express his consideration to the elders living there.[Photo/China Daily]

On Monday morning, Wen visited the Beijing No.1 Social Welfare House, a nursing home that has been providing care for elderly retirees and patients since 1988.

The nursing home has a capacity to accommodate more than 1,100 old people aged 80 and above. Over 300 well-trained employees provide them daily care and medical treatment.

"With the population ageing quickly, our country will see the first peak of elderly population in the next five years... We should strive to ensure a quality life for old people in terms of daily care, medical treatment, education and happiness," Wen said.

He visited entertainment rooms where seniors could read books or surf on the Internet.

"I usually log on to the Internet to read news stories... but I haven't learnt to open my own blog yet," Yao Zhengbing told the premier in the computer room.

"Don't become addictive to the Internet!" Wen joked with Yao. "Because staring at the computer screen for a long time is harmful to your eyes." His suggestion met with laughter of senior citizens.

"At the welfare house, I've learned calligraphy, painting, playing piano, using the Internet and singing. I feel like going to college once again and I'm really happy," retired engineer Chen Dexian told Wen.

The average age of the senior residents at the house is 83.5, and 70 persons are 90 or older.

According to China's national plan for aging problems from 2011-2016, China will soon enter an "aging boom period." The number of people above 60 is expected to surge from today's 178 million, 13.3 percent of its total population, to 221 million, or 16 percent, by the end of 2015.