China / Society

Lawmakers consider support system for elderly with one child

By He Dan (China Daily) Updated: 2012-12-25 03:36

Lawmakers are considering establishing a support system for elderly people who have only one child, according to an article written into the latest amendment to the law on senior citizens' rights.

Lawmakers consider support system for elderly with one child

An elderly woman walks through a square during a launch ceremony for a health service for married couples whose only child has died in Taiyuan, Shanxi province, in October. The couples receive medical services from local family planning and health authorities. PROVIDED TO CHINA DAILY

Experts view this proposal as a positive response to the cries from people who have lost their only child and face increasing challenges as they age.

"The nation will establish and perfect the support system for the elderly in family planning households," said the draft amendment to the Law on Protection of Rights and Interests of the Aged.

The draft was submitted to the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress, China's top legislative body, for discussion on Monday. It has been revised based on the first round of talks by legislators in June.

China's family planning policy has played a positive role in boosting the country's economic and social development, said Shen Chunyao, deputy secretary-general of the NPC Standing Committee and a member of the NPC Law Committee.

However, he urged fellow legislators to pay attention to the changes that the family planning policy has brought.

"Due to factors including diseases, accidents, crimes and natural disasters, some children who are the only child in their families die before their parents," Shen said. "Their deaths have a huge effect on their parents, even grandparents."

That trauma creates financial, psychological and social difficulties for childless parents in their daily lives, he added.

The number of parents who lost their only child is growing in China, he said. An estimated 80,000 youths aged 15 to 30 die annually.

Zhang Xingxian said her daughter's death in 2006 was "an upheaval" in her life.

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