Aging population a trend that is both challenge, opportunity
The central authorities have unveiled the first comprehensive document guiding the governments of various levels to cope with challenges of one of the largest and fastest aging populations in the world. Beijing News comments:
It is predicted that by 2035, the number of people above 60 years old will account for more than one-fourth of the country's population, which is already the case in some big cities, and the proportion will surge to more than one-third by 2050.
International experience shows that it is the social security and public service system that bears the brunt of an aging population, although the demographic change also takes its toll on social vitality, innovation and growth.
But if policymakers incorporate the trend into their social management and national development policy portfolios and take sufficient and effective preemptive measures, the aging population will not necessarily become a problem.
但如果政策制定者能将这一趋势纳入社会管理和国家发展政策中，并采取充分有效的积极措施，人口老龄化未必是一个问题。As the experience of many developed economies shows, it is essential that the country transforms its growth model from one driven by production elements to one driven by innovation before the coming of the aging society, so as to minimize the impact of the loss of labor on the economy.
So while increasing the social investment and inputs for the elderly, improving elder care and retirement services and enhancing legal and social protections, the government must also build a high quality work force and introduce advanced and innovative technologies to improve productivity.
The plan therefore provides a guideline for local governments to change their perspective so that rather than seeing senior citizens as simply a financial burden they should view them as motivation for providing high-quality services and a better social environment. Treating the elderly well is a traditional virtue of the Chinese nation, and building a policy system for pensions, filial piety, respect for the elderly and a healthy social environment is also a must.
Therefore, the aging of the population itself is not a problem. It is an important trend showing the country's social development.