Dominant Chinese National Policies on Aging and Their Degree of Attention to Eldercare by Seniors



This article examines dominant Chinese national policies on aging to assess the extent to which they attend to caregiving for the elderly by seniors. While seniors’ contributions to eldercare do receive scattered mention in such policies, the focus is on elders’ need for and traditional right to support and care, together with the obligation of younger adult sons and daughters to resist social decline in filial values. Where mentioned, it is the sporadic extraordinary offerings of skilled professionals that are highlighted, rather than the informal everyday efforts of ordinary senior men and women. International sources focused on productive aging recommend that aging societies forge a better policy balance between meeting seniors’ needs and tapping their continuing potential. This balance may be especially important for China, as a developing nation that has “gotten old before getting rich.”


China Policy Elder dependency Productive aging 



An early draft was presented at the Harvard Global Initiative on Caregiving for the Elderly Workshop on Aging and Eldercare in Asia, organized by Arthur Kleinman, Ladsen Hinton, and Hongtu Chen, at the Asia Vision 21 Conference in Hong Kong, May 2-4, 2014. Any errors or omissions are the author’s alone.


This study received funding from a Fulbright China Studies Senior Scholars Research Award (#1083), the Harvard Global Initiative on Caregiving for the Elderly, and a Peter J. Seybolt Award from the University of Vermont.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

The author declares that she has no conflict of interest.

Informed Consent

Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.

Ethical Treatment of Experimental Subjects (Animal and Human)

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.


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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of AnthropologyUniversity of VermontBurlingtonUSA

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