The Chinese government has released new guidelines to support the country's rapidly growing elderly population. The new guidelines are in line with the country's efforts to address its demographic issues.
The State Council published its guidelines to "actively cultivate the silver economy" on Wednesday. The guidelines include the implementation of new measures to improve the living conditions of the elderly. Supporting policies include improvements in industries that directly cater to the special needs of the elderly and policies that further protect their rights.
The director of the National Health Commission's Department of Ageing and Health, Wang Haidong, said that China has to live with the fact that it has a huge aging population and it has to act quickly to address their needs. He acknowledged that there is currently an "unbalanced and inadequate" development in that specific area.
The guidelines state that infrastructure, health care, and services for the elderly must be improved to help address the country's aging crisis. Another measure outlined in the guidelines is the provision of adequate internet access and related services for the elderly.
Premier Li Keqiang emphasized the significance of concentrating on the needs of the elderly in his guidelines released at a national working conference on aging last month as the government continued to work to slow the aging trend and boost the elderly living conditions and security.
Li said more effort should be put into building community-based aged care services and mobilizing the entire society to satisfy a variety of elderly care demands.
The vice-chairman of the China Centre for International Economic Exchange, Wei Jianguo, said that despite the huge volume and urgent demands of China's older population, there is still no corresponding infrastructure or adequate supporting businesses to serve them. These rules are being released at a time when China's population is aging at an unprecedented rate.
In recent years, China has struggled to address its growing aging population. According to the 2020 census, persons aged 60 and up accounted for 264 million people, or 18.7% of China's population, while those aged 65 and up accounted for 13.5%.
According to the Intelligence Research Group, a Beijing-based consulting business, China's so-called "silver economy" market will amount to 5.4 trillion yuan in 2020, up from 4.3 trillion yuan in 2019. In 2021, the silver economy in China is expected to grow to 5.9 trillion yuan, making it the world's largest market for the elderly.