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China has the fastest-ageing population in human history but the state provides very little support for elderly people. Ageing parents have traditionally been looked after by their children - but in today's China that is not always the case. China has a lot of orphanages for children. But the Ji Xiang temple has an entirely different purpose - it's an orphanage for the elderly. High in the mountains of China's southern Fujian province, the temple has all of the things you might expect to see in a Buddhist sanctuary. A giant Buddha statue dominates the cavernous main building, filling it with a golden glow. Outside, a beautifully sculpted garden is dotted with small stone statues.  But look closely and other things reveal the temple's main function: handrails along the steps and rows of medication bottles in a cabinet in the hall. Dozens of elderly people are living their final years here. Some are too poor to go elsewhere. Others have no children to care for them. But most have simply been abandoned by their families. In extremely poor communities, once they can no longer work, they're considered to be a burden. 

"In this area, there's not much family loyalty," explains the temple's head nun, Neng Qing. "Old people are really suffering. In a neighbouring village, there was . . . . . read more

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