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China Establishes Legal Aid Fund for Senior Citizens

The Ministry of Justice on Thursday established a fund to offer legal aid for senior citizens with 2.15 million yuan previously collected in public donations.

Vice Minister of Justice Hao Chiyong said the fund would be used to protect the legal rights of the country's growing number of senior citizens.

Statistics from China National Committee on Aging show China has 144 million people aged above 60, or 11 percent of the population. It is expected to have 248 million by 2020 and 440 million by 2050.

"The growing number of senior citizens is putting a greater demand on legal services," said Zhang Tongchun, of the China National Committee on Aging.

An official with the Legal Aid Center under the Ministry of Justice said the legal problems of senior citizens mostly involved property disputes or children's failure to provide support. Those who were unable to afford litigation and legal fees, could apply for aid.

Under the 2003 Regulations on Legal Aid, the state should encourage public donations to legal aid.

(Xinhua News Agency June 9, 2006)

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