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Speech of Mr. Greg Shaw at the Opening Ceremony of The 7th China International Senior Services Expo (CISSE 2018)

Date:2018-06-01 14:23:15

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Excellencies, Distinguished Guests, Friends, Ladies and Gentlemen

As the Director of International and Corporate Relations at the International Federation on Ageing, it is an honor and privilege to be amongst experts, colleagues and friends to celebrate the opening of the 7th China International Senior Services Expo.

It is my honor to acknowledge, Ms Feng Xiaoli, the Director of the China International Senior Service Expo Organizing Committee,  the China Association of Social Welfare and Senior Service, the China Association of Social Security, the China Professionals-worker International Travel Service, the Beijing Municipal Civil Affairs Bureau, and the General Office of Beijing Municipal Committee on Ageing. All these agencies constitute a consortium of partners collectively working towards enabling older people in China to live a productive life.  The IFA is pleased to stand with you on this journey.  

Just three years ago China’s population aged 65 and older outnumbered Japan’s total population. Last year, that number reached 158.31 million people, more than the total population of Russia. By 2030, 238.8 million people in China are expected to be over the age of 65.

Not only is China’s population ageing, but it is ageing at a fast rate.  The ageing population is expected to rise from 7 to 14 percent from 2000-2026, a mere 26 years, compared to France that had 115 years to prepare for the same increase from 1865 to 1980. China therefore has a short time frame to adapt and make changes in preparation for an ageing population.

Older people in China play a multitude of roles and contribute to society in countless ways. They have lived through a myriad of situations yet continue to contribute to society in later life through areas such as caregiving, volunteer work, and labor force participation.  Despite their contributions, older people are often stereotyped as a ‘drain’ on societal resources.  What is instead required is a focus on maintaining the health of individuals into later life and providing them with the resources they require to continue living a meaningful life and participating in the activities they desire.

For these reasons, the 7th China International Senior Services Expo is of utmost importance. The Expo will feature cutting edge products and services suited to the needs of an ageing population, which is extremely important to China as the nation’s population continues to age. China was once a country seeking advice and inspiration from other world leaders, however now is a world leader itself in ageing technology and advancements.

China’s ageing population is due to a decline in fertility rates and increase in life expectancy. There is a small projected population of younger people in the next few decades, partially attributed to the introduction of the one-child policy in 1979.  This policy had huge implications for society, resulting in the decrease in total fertility rate per woman from 6.11 in 1950 to 1.66 in 2015. Although the government abandoned this policy in 2015, its effect will not become apparent for some time.

Over the years, life expectancy in China has increased due to improvements in public health, decreases in child death rates, sanitation, and the introduction of vaccines and antibiotics. Although the increase in life expectancy is a cause for celebration, an increase of years spent in ill health is not.

For example, the amount of people with dementia in China is double that of the United States. Furthermore, 80% of deaths in China for people aged 60 and older were attributable to non-communicable diseases.

The nation’s chronic disease prevention efforts through health promotion campaigns, community-wide screening, and improving provision of care and financial security of older people have proven beneficial, however further advancements and resources are necessary, enhancing the importance of the 7th China International Senior Services Expo.

More and more people in the labor force have left their homes in rural China to acquire jobs in urban cities, contributing to China’s increasing urbanization. Rural older people in China have poorer health, financial security and resources available than that of older people living in urban areas.

Elder people in rural China contribute to society in countless ways, such as grand parenting.

The children then send money home to their children and parents. Research shows grandparents benefit psychologically from the role, showing improved emotional wellbeing.

The China International Senior Services Expo which grows every year responds to a global need, attracts national and international sponsors and exhibitors and is fast becoming the expo where innovation can be seen and experienced first-hand. This year, over 300 exhibitors and over 50,000 global visitors will attend the China International Senior Services Expo to expand knowledge and be introduced to innovative products and services suited to the needs of an ageing population.

The leadership of the China Association of Social Welfare and Senior Service is highly respected nationally and internationally and without the vision, the drive and the passion this expo would not have grown to be a much sought-after event in the calendar.

The 7th China International Senior Services Expo demonstrates commitment to advanced technology and creative products and designs, while promoting growth and the development of the senior services industry. Through this Expo, China is undoubtedly a leading force to change the way we do business for and with seniors.

Thank you!