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Schermafdruk 2017 02 24 19.48.10China’s capital Beijing is struggling to cope with its growing number of elderly residents which number more than three million. The government has announced a trial scheme to relocate some out of the capital, but many don’t want to move. Senior citizens make up a quarter of Beijing’s registered population of which 80 per cent live in the city centre, where services are struggling to meet demand. Professor Du Peng, a demographer at Renmin University, says developing adequate services in the city is a slow process and not everyone can be catered to. “There is a very big gap between service need and supply," he said. "For Beijing there’s also another gap between the service and professionals.” To help ease this pressure the government has announced a trial scheme to encourage the elderly to relocate. Those who move to the neighbouring Hebei and Tianjin will have their medical costs subsidised. But many are reluctant to leave Beijing’s vibrant elderly communities. Hundreds of senior citizens go to Beijing’s historic Temple of Heaven park everyday to gather, socialise and exercise. Among them is 76 year-old An Hong Zhang, who has lived in Beijing his whole life and refuses to move. “It's because I have a strong attachment to the city," he said. "I'm 76 years old and I lived through the hard times of the 50s and witnessed how the city became how it is now… I have a sense of belonging here.” Still, facilities outside the city are . . . . . read more

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