China had 153 million people aged 60 or over by the end of last year, accounting for 11.6 percent of the country's 1.3 billion population, said Vice Premier Hui Liangyu at a plenary meeting of the China National Committee on Ageing (CNCA) on Friday.
The fast ageing of the population was a major strategic problem affecting economic and social development, said Hui, a member of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee and head of the CNCA.
Hui said the CPC Central Committee and the State Council attached great importance to the issue as it is a traditional virtue to respect, treasure and care for senior citizens.
The government would endeavor to deal with problems related to the practical interests of the elderly, further accelerate the building of a social security system, promote the development of services for the aged, and take steps to protect their legal rights, he said.
Hui said China had been an ageing society before it became affluent, so pensions and medical spending had become an increasingly larger financial burden.
In 2008, the government would roll out more policies on social security, giving special attention to medical and social services, including psychological services, and making greater efforts to strengthen the role of non-profit organizations.
(Xinhua News Agency March 1, 2008)