How China's '15-minute Community Life Circle' initiative improves people's lives

By Chi Zao, Tian Yi, Wu Chaolan (People's Daily Online) 15:51, February 29, 2024

Editor’s Note:

Two sessions, our suggestions: What do Chinese people have to say about this year's two sessions?

A key event on China's political calendar, the annual sessions of China's national legislature and top political advisory body, known as the "two sessions," are set to take place in Beijing in March.

The second session of the 14th National People's Congress (NPC) is scheduled to open on March 5, while the second session of the 14th Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) National Committee is slated to begin on March 4. Thousands of national lawmakers and political advisors, representing the Chinese public, will gather for this significant political meeting, which addresses every aspect of China's development and the wellbeing of its people.

The two sessions are expected to discuss numerous policies and initiatives aimed at improving the lives of the Chinese people.

Are the Chinese satisfied with their lives? What suggestions do they have for this year's two sessions? With these questions in mind, People's Daily Online interviewed locals in Beijing, focusing on topics frequently discussed at the two sessions such as improving living standards, elderly care, and increasing job opportunities for the public.

Let's hear what they have to say!

How China's '15-minute Community Life Circle' initiative improves people's lives

The "bus convenience store" offers convenient services and low-cost vegetables to residents living in older communities. (People’s Daily Online/Tian Yi)

The "bus convenience store" in Liufang, an old neighborhood in Beijing’s Chaoyang district, serves as the community's hallmark and a popular destination for senior citizens. The shop, constructed by repurposing defunct buses, offers fresh fruits and vegetables at reasonable prices.

Zhu Huaiping, a 70-year-old retiree who has resided in the area for over 40 years, often visits the "bus convenience store" and claims that this innovative project has significantly enhanced her everyday life.

"This is my go-to place for vegetables and eggs. The prices are fair, and the shopkeepers treat older people kindly. Before this store was established, we had to take the bus to a nearby market. It has simplified our lives," Zhu said.

The "bus convenience store" offers convenient services and low-cost vegetables to residents living in older communities. (People’s Daily Online/Tian Yi)

Fan Guoping, a 40-year-old shopkeeper at the Liufang "bus convenience store," informed People's Daily Online that the shop operates from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. Such stores are economical and environmentally friendly, offering greater convenience to locals, especially senior citizens.

According to Beijing Daily, at least 300 of these "bus convenience stores" are expected to open in Beijing's older neighborhoods within three years. To simplify and enhance the daily lives of the elderly, "grocery bus stores" will be accompanied by "coffee bus stores," "barber bus stores," and "laundry bus stores." This initiative reuses old buses in an eco-friendly manner, with the shops set to become unique landmarks in the city.

Moreover, these compact stores can seamlessly integrate into old neighborhoods without occupying excessive space and are anticipated to generate over 3,000 job opportunities.

The "bus convenience store" project is an element of Beijing's "15-minute Community Life Circle" initiative, which encourages communities to create more job opportunities and offer more accessible shared services for sports, learning, and leisure residents.

Zhu Huaiping, a 70-year-old retiree who has lived in Liufang, an old neighborhood in Beijing’s Chaoyang district, for over four decades, frequently visits the nearby "bus convenience store" and asserts that this creative project substantially improves the quality of her everyday life. (People’s Daily Online/Tian Yi)

In addition to enhancing residents' daily lives, a plan issued and initiated by multiple government departments in 2023 stated that by 2025, China aims to achieve full coverage of public fitness facilities and establish 15-minute fitness circles at various administrative levels.

For example, each county-level administrative area with more than 200,000 permanent residents should have at least one public stadium, track, fitness center, sports park, or venue.

Besides constructing venues and facilities, the plan also seeks to popularize mass sports events, enhance the service and utilization efficiency of public fitness facilities, implement digital management, and increase public satisfaction. 

According to Zhu, the government has renovated her old neighborhood over the last four decades, and new facilities providing convenient public services have been established.

"Once-dilapidated bungalows have been transformed into large, lush parks where the elderly can exercise and dance, and many new public restrooms have been constructed in the area. Our quality of life has greatly improved," said Zhu.

As this year's two sessions approaches, Zhu, a devoted volunteer in her neighborhood who has assisted other retirees with patrolling duties during the previous two sessions, expressed her hopes for an even better living situation.

"Life is getting better for us. However, I do have some suggestions for the two sessions. I hope the cost of living remains stable and our healthcare system can reduce medical expenses by covering more conditions that affect the elderly," she added.

(Web editor: Tian Yi, Wu Chengliang)


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