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China plans to give more entitlements to parents moving to cities to be with children

(Xinhua)

12:04, September 25, 2011

BEIJING, Sept. 24 (Xinhua) -- As many aged Chinese parents are likely to migrate to cities where their children live, the government plans to give them the same entitlements as local citizens, Beijing Times reported on Saturday citing a government plan.

The plan for senior citizens' development in the 12th Five-Year Program period (2011-2015) was posted on the website of the State Council, or Cabinet, on Friday.

As many Chinese young people leave their hometown for work, policies must be made to facilitate migration of their aged parents, to encourage family support of the elderly, said Yan Qingchun, official with China's National Working Commission on Aging (CNWCA).

Among others, household registration (hukou) restraints should be eased so that migrant parents can enjoy the same social welfare as local citizens, said Yan.

The current two-tier "hukou" system, or household registration system, was first introduced by the government in the 1950s to restrict population flow. The system binds social entitlements, including education and medical care, strictly to areas where people are registered.

"Although such 'hukou' transfer policies for aged parents exist, most cities have not well implemented them," said Yan Qingchun, adding that CNWCA will work with police authorities to ensure the polices be practiced.

Yan said the new policy is supposed to target small and medium sized cities first, and megacities like Beijing and Shanghai will not be opened to migrant parents as those cities are attempting to "control" population growth.

The part of China's population aged sixty and above will increase from the current 178 million to 221 million by 2015, which will raise the proportion that segment of the population from 13.3 percent to 16 percent, according to the plan.

According to international standards, a country or region is considered to have an "aging society" when the number of people at and above 60 reaches 10 percent or more of its total population.

The CNWCA also intends to improve the urban and rural medical assistance system and further develop service industry for the elderly by building more community service facility stations, according to the plan.

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