Chinese senior citizens leading more active lives in retirement

19th CPC National Congress

A growing economy is changing the lives of Chinese citizens both young and old. More seniors are now enjoying a retirement similar to what one can find in the developed countries.

CGTN’s Yao Chin report.

How one spends retirement life in modern China has come a long way. 16.7 percent of its population is now above 60 – the retirement age for men. Thanks to constantly improving healthcare, life expectancy continues to rise in China.

With a long and healthy retirement to look forward to, pensioners are no longer passive. They’re active.

Just like Mr. Shang Dehua. He’s not long retired from his 30-year career as a driver. After an hour of tai chi, it’s on to Ping-Pong. It’s not for competition, but only for fun. But Shang said he usually wins.

Many Chinese pensioners now have the funds to travel further, and take up new hobbies they couldn’t afford before.

Shang is also a keen photographer. He’s learning about theories of documentary photography. He takes courses for eight months, and has been able to fund both his tuition fees and the camera equipment.

He’ll get a certificate when the course ends, but he’s looking to get more.

“I plan to go abroad,” Shang said. “My daughter is in New Zealand. I plan to visit her next year, and take pictures of the scenery and people’s life there. It will enrich my life.”

It had become practically tradition for a senior citizen in China to expect grandchildren, and even to focus much of one’s retirement caring for the grandchildren.

But changes in the younger generation’s lifestyle have led to many more Chinese couples having children later. It sometimes concerns those would-be grandparents.

“We call it utmost happiness, for having grandchildren, but we can’t change the younger generation’s opinion,” Shang said. “They have career plans, and sometimes grandchildren have to be postponed. I understand and don’t want to interfere with my daughter’s affairs.”

Compared with the last generation, today’s retirees are much better off in health.

“I exercise for good health, and it will alleviate the burden on my daughter,” Shang said. “It also eases pressure on my country. The state will have to spend quite lot money on me if I’m always in hospital. That’s why I do Tai-Chi and Ping-Pong every morning.”

The government has issued a promise of promoting better life for all people. More and more elderly will see that promise met.