Fri, 27 Nov 2020

Xi Jinping's care for the elderly

Xinhua
29 Oct 2020, 22:05 GMT+10


BEIJING, Oct. 29 (Xinhua) -- Liu Jinwen keeps a precious photo on the nightstand of her bedroom in a nursing home in Beijing.

The photo captures Liu and her fellow nursing home residents with a rare visitor none other than Xi Jinping, general secretary of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee.

The photo was taken several days before the 2014 New Year's Day when Xi paid a visit to the nursing home. The moment is etched in the hearts of the elderly residents -- one of the seniors had requested Xi for a group photo and he accepted the invitation with alacrity.

By the end of 2019, China had 250 million people aged 60 or above, about one-sixth of the country's total population. Ensuring that people live a healthy and happy life in their twilight years is an important aspect of the "moderately prosperous society in all respects," which is being led to fruition by Xi.

Xi has played an exemplary role in caring for the elderly. A dutiful son himself, Xi has embellished his bookshelf with photos of him spending time with his parents. Despite a tight schedule, he would take time to go on walks with his mother.

Xi's first signed article published in the People's Daily, the CPC's flagship newspaper, was also on elderly care.

Throughout his political career, Xi has always championed the cause of aged care. Moments demonstrating his care and respect for the elderly are quite popular.

With the world's largest aging population, China shoulders heavy responsibilities to take care of its aging society.

Since the 18th CPC National Congress in 2012, Xi has given a series of instructions and adopted relevant plans and arrangements to develop the country's elderly-care services and the pension system.

During his domestic inspections, Xi would regularly visit elderly care facilities to check if support policies have been well implemented and the residents given proper care.

The development of an aged care system was included in the 13th Five-Year Plan and received 13.4 billion yuan (nearly 2 billion U.S. dollars) of the central budgetary support in the past five years.

The old-age services are benefiting from emerging industries such as the internet, Internet-of-Things and artificial intelligence.

Besides, various measures have been taken to support home-based and community-based elderly care services.

Xi has an ardent desire to ensure all elderly people can lead a happy life, and people suffering from poverty or disease have always been his main concern. He would often visit the elderly people reeling under poverty during his inspection tours across the country, and chat with them to check if their basic needs were met. "Only policies benefiting the people are good policies," Xi once said.

The COVID-19 outbreak this year has seriously threatened the safety and health of the aged people. Xi has called for efforts to save lives at all costs and make sure not a single person, irrespective of age or severity of illness, is left behind.

In central China's Hubei Province, once ravaged by the outbreak, more than 3,000 COVID-19 patients aged 80 or above were cured, including seven centenarians.

The quality of community-level healthcare services has a direct bearing on the lives of the elderly. Xi has inspected community-level clinics and hospitals on many occasions, promoting the development of medical services in rural areas.

"I would never even dream of such a life. There is no need to worry about food, clothing, shelter, or transportation. And insurances are covering our medical costs," said Gu Baoqing, a villager in her 70s in Hebei Province.

By the end of 2019, Gu's fellow villagers had all been lifted out of poverty. They are covered by basic medical insurance, serious illness insurance, and medical assistance. Medical expenses are no longer a cause of major concern.

Similar stories have been replicated in villages across the country. As the anti-poverty campaign is to wrap up this year and the rural vitalization strategy advances, the Chinese government works to fix the weak links in the elderly care facilities in rural areas.

The older people in the countryside are expected to lead an even better life.

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