China mulls amending law to
By Xinhua, Global Times
June 26, 2012
A draft revision
to the law on protecting senior citizens' rights
and interests was submitted to China's top
legislature on Tuesday, in the wake of an
increasing aged population.
The bill was tabled for first reading at the
bimonthly session of the National People's
Congress (NPC) Standing Committee, which runs from
Tuesday to Saturday.
The law has not been revised since being enacted
In the draft revision, China has made it a
"long-term national strategic task" to take care
of its rapidly aging population.
In response to the challenges brought about by an
aging society, the central government will
formulate a national program on seniors' welfare,
and local government administrations are required
to have their own.
Based on the draft revision, which has added 38
articles to the current 50-article law, government
administrations at all levels are required to
guarantee funding for projects concerning the
welfare of citizens.
A sharp decline in fertility rates and longer life
spans over the past 30 years have caused China's
population to age at a much faster rate than other
France took 100 years to double its population
aged above 65 from 7 percent to 14 percent, while
China took 25 years to achieve the same growth,
according to the United Nations Population Fund.
China currently has more than 20 million people
over 80 and about 33 million seniors who need
assistance or nursing, said Zhang Xuezhong, deputy
director of the NPC Committee for Internal and
Judical affairs, when elaborating on the bill at
In 2010, 178 million people in China were 60 years
of age or older, accounting for 13.26 percent of
the total population, and the number will rise to
221 million by 2015, or 16 percent of its
population, he said.
By 2030, China will overtake Japan to become the
world's most aging society, according to a report
published by the Chinese Academy of Social
Sciences in September 2010.
To ensure its aging population is provided with
decent care, local government administrations are
encouraged to subsidize seniors, provide
community-based nursing services, and grant
favorable policies for nursing projects, under the
To promote public awareness of the issue, the
proposed revision officially designates September
9 on the Chinese lunar calendar as a festival for
seniors. CHANGE TO FAMILY-SUPPORT STRUCTURE
A quickly aging population along with shrinking
family sizes has made supporting the elderly a
bigger burden, said Zhang.
China's population migration, brought about by its
economic boom and quick urbanization, has left
many parents at home without sons and daughters to
rely on nearby, he added.
To accommodate its demographic changes, which
Zhang believes to have spurred the amendment to
the current law, the country will supplement the
traditional family-support structure with more
community and institution-based nursing services,
under the draft revision.
The proposals redefined the family's role in
supporting seniors as an important part, instead
of a main part, as per the current law.
Aside from banning domestic violence against
senior citizens and embezzlement of their
properties, the draft revision has made it
important that families should pay regular visits
to left-behind seniors.
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