Recently, a video went viral online which shows some women in their 60s in Luoyang of Henan Province jostling with young people for a basketball court so that they can practice square dancing. Another popular video shows a group of old people jogging together on roads in Qingdao of Shandong Province, disrupting traffic. Public opinion thus seems not so friendly toward the elderly these days. We do not deny the impropriety of their behaviors. However, behind these cases, there is an undeniable issue. China is home to more than 200 million people above the age of 60, so is it ready for the aging of its population?
The fundamental reason for both cases is the lack of public space in cities, or flawed distribution of the space. In Qingdao, local traffic authorities later found a place for the jogging group in a school, and soon everyone got along well with each other.
The State Council has issued a decision on caring for the elderly, and a lot of welfare is provided. For instance, old people above the age of 65 will have a free physical examination every year.
Indeed, such services are necessary, but caring for the elderly should also include more public resources for them to do exercise and have entertainment. If urban development can give more heed to the elderly's demands in this regard, then conflicts similar to those mentioned above will naturally diminish then disappear.
(This is an edited excerpt of an article published in Guangzhou Daily on June 19)