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Chinese vice premier urges improved welfare for elderly

(Xinhua)

15:10, October 22, 2011

The 3rd national conference on aging is held in Beijing, capital of China, Oct. 21, 2011.Chinese Vice Premier Hui Liangyu Friday called on different levels of government to focus on increasing the material and cultural needs of the country's huge elderly population. (Xinhua/Pang Xinglei)

BEIJING, Oct. 21 (Xinhua) -- Vice Premier Hui Liangyu Friday called on different levels of government to focus on increasing the material and cultural needs of the country's huge elderly population.

Government policies should be adjusted and improved to cope with various problems of the aging population such as regional imbalance and high proportion of elderly people in rural areas, said Hui, also head of the China National Committee on Aging, at a national conference on aging.

China had 178 million people aged 60 or above by November 1, 2010, accounting for 13.26 percent of the country's total population, according to the report of the sixth national population census.

"We should be fully aware of the severity and urgency in handling the aging population," said Hui, noting various problems such as the increasing number of old people living alone and inadequate financial support.

Hui said the country will expand the pension program to cover more senior citizens and improve welfare services for elderly people who cannot take care of themselves.

In addition, Hui asked government departments and local authorities to safeguard the legitimate rights of the elderly and strengthen the rural pension program.

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