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China responds to population aging in its own way

Lena

2023-05-15 02:06

Huang Lihe
Chinese Social Sciences Today

Population aging has always been an important issue on the agenda of the United Nations. The “World Social Report 2023: Leaving No One Behind in an Aging Society” released by the UN in January 2023 states that population aging is a global trend; the number of persons aged 65 years or older worldwide is expected to double by the middle of the 21st century.

Countries around the world are facing challenges related to population aging, particularly in the developing world. The challenges are particularly long-term and difficult for China, the largest developing country in the world. According to China’s Seventh National Population Census, as of 2020, persons aged 60 and above account for 18.70% of the Chinese population, and those aged 65 and above account for 13.50%. The coming decades, up to the mid-21st century, is a critical period in which China is likely to experience a relatively high rate of population aging.

Population aging in China is characterized by its large scale, deep degree, and fast pace. Since the 18th National Congress of the Communist Party of China, the Party Central Committee with Comrade Xi Jinping at the core has attached great importance to addressing population aging, actively responding to it in a unique Chinese way.

China has taken into consideration both the national strategy of actively responding to population aging and the population development strategy in an organic and integrated way, comprehensively optimizing its family planning policies. The country embraces a positive view of aging and aims to strengthen the protection of the rights and interests of senior citizens in order to facilitate the “elderly dividend.” The Chinese government is educating its people on the national condition of population aging and advocating the traditional virtues of filial piety and respect for the elderly in all sectors of society. Scientific and technological advances have provided new resources for the governance of an aging society. China can harness these resources to vigorously promote the development of the silver economy and senior-friendly industries, which will serve as the basis for improving and optimizing the governance system for an aging society. The goal is to create a new situation where responsibility is shared by multiple parties, risks are managed in stages, and everyone participates in the endeavor to tackle population aging. The Communist Party of China and the Chinese government, equipped with an accurate understanding of population dynamics and the natural law of aging, are committed to promoting high-quality management of elderly affairs in the new era, and their decision to actively respond to population aging has been proven correct.

Population aging has always been high on the UN agenda and closely connected to the sustainable development goals (SDGs). Various action plans and policy documents have been put forward by the UN, addressing multiple aspects of population aging, including health, nutrition, education, housing, and social welfare. As a global issue, it represents a serious challenge which can also open up opportunities for social development and transformation. The United Nations Decade of Healthy Ageing (2021–2030), proclaimed by the UN General Assembly in December 2020, overlaps partially with the timeframe for the SDGs (2016-2030). It can be said that effectively responding to population aging and encouraging the elderly to fully realize their potential is critical to the healthy and sustainable development of the economy and society in general. China needs to combine the objectives of better managing elderly affairs and achieving the SDGs while contributing its own wisdom and solutions to the global cause of healthy aging.

 


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2023-05-15 10:07
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