Strategies to help seniors, boost births

BEIJING: Political advisers said timely, comprehensive and scientific measures to deal with China’s aging society and flagging fertility rate are needed as they attended a high-level seminar in Beijing on Monday.
About 40 advisers made remarks at the special meeting on demographic issues held by the National Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference, China’s top political advisory body.
They proposed creating a multilayered elder care system and national pension fund system, and sought to explore the purchasing power of senior citizens with a view to rolling out a development plan for senior-related industries. They said efforts will be made to reduce child-rearing costs and called for policies to help retirees reenter the job market and push back retirement. The advisers also proposed increased publicity to teach the public a proper view of aging, and build a society friendly to older people.
Wang Yang, chairman of the CPPCC National Committee, asked authorities to bear in mind China’s overall development strategy and people’s interests as they explore the Chinese system’s advantages, and find innovative ways of tackling population issues.
The advantages of China’s political system can be used to counter the downsides of aging and balance the demographic structure of the world’s most populous nation, he said, adding that to achieve this, social cooperation must be maximized.
He called on those at the seminar to study President Xi Jinping’s instructions on the issue and better understand the rules of aging and other demographic changes.
“China should follow a path with Chinese characteristics to tackle the issue of aging and promote the balanced, long-term development of the population, which will help create the right conditions as we seek to build a modern socialist country,” he said.
Vice-Premier Sun Chunlan told the meeting efforts will be made to improve the health service, elder care and the social security system to deal with aging.
On May 31, China decided to allow all couples to have a third child.
Last week, the central authorities released a resolution on perfecting China’s fertility policies in response to aging and the flagging birthrate. The resolution said that China will create a support system by 2025 that helps to “significantly reduce” childrearing and education costs, which experts say are factors hampering the fertility rate.
Late last year, central authorities rolled out a national strategy to counter aging through active measures. The latest Five-Year Plan, unveiled in March, seeks to build a service system for the elderly and the young to balance the structure of the country’s population.
– The Daily Mail-China Daily News exchange item