BEIJING — China will provide better care for senior citizens and children, Premier Li Keqiang said on March 15.
Issues related to the aged and child care concern the Chinese people most. “They demand more attention from us,” Premier Li said at a news conference following the conclusion of the annual national legislative session.
China has nearly 250 million senior citizens at the age of 60 or above. The country also has over 100 million children below six years old. Services targeting these people are still in short supply, affecting most Chinese families.
Insufficient nursery and kindergarten service is particularly prominent after the full implementation of the two-child policy, Premier Li said.
Nursing homes could provide only three beds for every 100 senior citizens in the country. The supply of aged care facilities lags far behind the demand, according to Premier Li.
To address such problems, some excellent experiences have been gained in some areas. Developing community-based child and elderly care services is a good solution, Premier Li said.
“If they can provide accessible quality services which are safe and reliable, they will certainly be popular among the targeted people,” Premier Li said. “The government needs to develop innovative mechanisms to meet the market demand, and bring into play the role of social forces.”
The government also needs to provide policy support, Premier Li said, citing offering public rental houses, tax exemption or tax cuts for the service providers.