Ageing society

Ageing society

Chinese family had to pay US$150,000 for their seven children
For Chinese families that want large families, it is not impossible to get around the country’s restrictive family planning policies – it’s just expensive.  For one woman in China, named Zhang Rongrong, her and her family has paid out more than US$155,000 in fines for having her seven children, five boys and two girls.  Without paying the fines, the children – five boys and two girls, including a set of twins, aged between one and 14 – would not have received their all-important identity documents. The large family is an exception that proves the rule, standing out in a country where women are increasingly reluctant to have babies, highlighted by a birth rate that plummeted in 2020.  China’
Calling all dads: lobby group demands men step up to childcare challenge
A women’s lobby group has called for legislation making parental leave for new dads mandatory in a bid to reverse China’s plummeting birthrate. Forcing fathers to be more involved in child care would boost gender equality and encourage more women to have children, said the Shanghai Women’s Federation (SWF) on the social media platform WeChat last month. Apart from the existing 128-day maternity leave and 10-day paternity leave, the SWF wants to add a shared parental leave policy that requires fathers to take at least a third of it, the organization said. “We hope that families would be encouraged by the public policies [to have children], without adding burdens to employers or worsening chi
Chinese expert mocked for urban-rural matchmaking idea
China is staring at a looming demographic crisis, but one expert’s proposal to matchmake urban “leftover” women with rural men has been widely mocked for being out of touch. Wu Xiuming, deputy secretary-general of the Shanxi Think Tank Development Association, a non-governmental organization in central China that specializes in social development research, urged women to not to “feel afraid to go and live in rural villages.” In China, sheng nu, or “leftover women”, is a term used to describe unmarried – although usually highly educated and urban – women over the age of 27. But Wu’s proposal is being criticized as being “out of touch” to the huge cultural and lifestyle disparity between the
5% of Chinese people lack the card to access basic social services
America calls itself the land of opportunity. China says it will take care of its own. Regardless of the truth behind these ideas, they are fundamental to understanding the mythologies of their respective governments. One of the core documents the Chinese government uses to “take care of everyone” is a social security card that is far more powerful than its American counterpart. While a social security number in the US is a de facto national identification system, the Chinese version is essential to access the welfare system covering health care, maternity leave, pensions, unemployment compensation and worker’s compensation payments.   In late January, China released the latest annual data
Chinese births fell 15% during pandemic-hit 2020
Just over 10 million babies were registered in China’s birth registration system last year, raising concerns that the country’s demographic crisis is no longer an issue that is on the horizon.  “The collapse of the newborn population is really here,” said James Liang, a research professor of applied economics at the Guanghua School of Management, Peking University, in a blog post last week. Concerns over China’s population’s outlook have grown after the number of newborns recorded in the country’s household registration system declined 15% during a coronavirus-hit 2020. According to figures released by the Ministry of Public Security on Monday, the 10.035 million newborns recorded in 2020 b
China aging population accelerating in some regions
The world’s most populous country is facing a looming demographic crisis, with new data showing the birth rate in some regional areas of China dropped by more than 30% compared to 2019. The figures signal a potential economic and political catastrophe for China’s future as it contends with a smaller working-age population who will have to support a fast-growing aging society.  “We can say that even though the number of births in 2020 might be the lowest in recent decades, it is likely to be the highest in the next few decades, unless miraculous achievements were made via encouraging births in the future,” said Huang Wenzhen, a senior researcher from the Center for China and Globalization, a
How Chinese grannies are becoming internet sensations
Dressed in a black, figure-hugging dress with silver chains and combat boots, 65-year-old Lin Wei does not fit the stereotype of a typical grandmother.  The retiree, who accessorizes her look with red lipstick and black sunglasses, is part of a fast-growing phenomenon in China, dubbed ‘glamorous grannies.’  Aged over 60, older women are turning stereotypes on their head by dressing stylishly in traditional Chinese outfits such as cheongsams – and they are gaining millions of followers on social media in the process.  “We found the coolest grandmas on TikTok,” Oprah Magazine commented under a music video posted on Instagram of Lin with a group of her elderly friends in Beijing. “Now they jus
China’s pensions gap forces rural peasants to labor into old age
In most parts of rural China, the elderly must continue to rely on their own labor, their children or their savings to support themselves in their twilight years. Chen Yunfeng, the chief of Yancang village in central China, has grown dismayed by the disadvantages that aging rural peasants face. “We plant grains, but grains are cheap,” Chen said while puffing cigarettes under a no-smoking sign in his little office. “And we are getting old, but there’s little welfare.” According to Chen, who is in his late fifties, a peasant from the village can receive a monthly pension of just 112 yuan ($16) after the retirement age of 60 – a tiny sum that is well below the average daily wage in Chinese citi
China is getting very old very fast
Every Tuesday and Thursday, Inkstone Index features a single, illuminating number that helps you make sense of China. 2022: the year when China is expected to officially become an “aged society.”  By 2022, one out of seven people in China will likely be aged 65 years or older, according to a report from the Chinese research firm Evergrande Research Institute. In 2019, that number was one in ten. An “aged society” is defined by the United Nations as a country where more than 14.3% of a population is at or above the age of 65. An “aging society” is when that age group makes up 7.2% of the total population.  China’s aging population, coupled with a low birth rate, is one of the most pressing pr
Punishment for ‘unfilial’ children sparks debate over elderly care
A Chinese county’s move to punish “unfilial” people has fueled a debate over the state’s role in taking care of China’s rapidly aging population. Xunyang, one of the poorest counties in the northwestern Chinese province of Shaanxi, said last week it would punish people who fail to take good care of their elderly parents. Chinese people are customarily expected to care for their elderly parents. But the county’s plan to punish those who fail to provide financial support to their parents has triggered a backlash online. This is “the government saying it’s done caring for the elderly and the responsibility is now on the offspring,” one commentator wrote on China’s Twitter-like Weibo.  China is