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Population and development in China

Professor Xiaoying Zheng gave a talk on the challenges of population and development in China on the second day of the Malthus Conference at Jesus College.

Professor Zheng is the Director of the Institute of Population Research/WHO Collaborating Centre, Peking University. Her presence at the conference was a result of the new partnership between Peking University and Jesus College, which have jointly created a centre to research contemporary China and related global issues.

Professor Zheng spoke of the economic and health challenges posed by the rapidly ageing population in China, and of research showing that China may invest more for an ageing support system. She raised questions about who should support older people in China and abroad: the family, the Government, the insurance industry, or a combination of all three?

She then discussed the growing gap between family income in urban and rural environments, and how that might affect the support offered to people as they grow older and in some cases suffer ill health. She concluded with several points about how the focus in China is now on people living healthy lives rather than simply on life span, and how China and other countries can learn from each other’s experiences of planning for an ageing population.

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