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Rural Elderly Poverty in China
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Traditional sayings such as “Care for and respect the elderly in the family and all elderly”, “Of all virtues filial piety is the most important” have been passed on for thousands of years reflecting that filial piety is still highly valued in Chinese society. Every old man and woman used to consider having a family with lots of children and grandchildren an ideal life.


Yet time passes in a flash and China has become the country with the biggest ageing and one of the world’s fastest aging populations in its transformation period. According to the latest statistics, in 2013, there were 23 million people of advanced age, 37.5 million disabled elderly and 21 million poverty-stricken and low-income elderly.  Besides that, the number of senior people suffering from chronic diseases and the empty-nest syndrome has reached 100 million. Behinds all these figures, there are helpless elderly people with certain social expectations, which inevitably pose a challenge to China’s social development. Especially considering that China has entered aging society while it is still considered a developing country, the challenge, without a doubt, has to be tackled with caution.


Oxfam has been working in China for more than 30 years, standing with the poor and vulnerable to strive for a better future without poverty. In working on community poverty alleviation, Oxfam also pays much attention to collaborate closely with governments, research institutes and civil society organizations to jointly respond to new challenges emerging from China’s development process. Through making use of in-depth field research and focused policy studies, it is devoted to make adjustment and improve related policies and enforcement mechanisms. This report is a reflection of the joint efforts with all our partners. We sincerely hope that more attention will be paid to the rural poor elderly so that more people will join our efforts to help build a better future for elderly people in China.


On September 9th in the lunar calendar is the traditional Chinese Double Ninth Festival, which is the time for climbing mountains, enjoying fragrance of chrysanthemum and planting cornel. It is also a time that allows us to show our gratitude and respect, our concern and care to the elderly. We sincerely wish all elderly long, healthy lives, as eventful and spectacular as their early days or even more in their old days!


Howard Hung-to LiuPh.D

China Program Director

Oxfam Hong Kong

Double Ninth Festival

 

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