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    Samenwerking | 合作

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    Ontwikkelingen | 发展

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    Kennis | 知识

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    Werelden verbinden | 国际接轨

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    Uitwisseling | 交流

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    Samenwerking | 合作

Schermafdruk 2017 11 08 20.05.05When retired factory worker Liu Xixian saw on TV that the government wanted more privately funded retirement homes, she thought starting one herself would be great way to grow old with her friends. But her dream was put on hold when a once-supportive government changed its mind. China's population is aging rapidly and there is a growing need for senior care services. As a result, Liu initially enjoyed plenty of official backing from local government departments in her hometown of Wuxi, in eastern China’s Jiangsu province. She found a building, sorted the paperwork, and started renovations. But official support evaporated when nearby residents started complaining, and her project has been stuck in limbo ever since — more than half a year. Liu says the local authorities have caused her an investment loss of over 4 million yuan ($580,000). The government, for its part, says the plan was unsuitable from the start, and that Liu has been unwilling to entertain several of their proposed solutions. The stalled project points to a key problem in China’s growing need for elderly care: Retirement houses built on a city’s outskirts are unpopular with potential residents who don’t want to move far away from their homes and families. But setting up a facility in a downtown area can come with a long line of hurdles, as Liu experienced firsthand. The 61-year-old Liu hatched her plan after seeing on TV that the government was throwing its support behind private elderly care initiatives. She talked it over with friends and family, who agreed to help raise money. Liu was aware of all of the characteristics a suitable building would need to have: a clean and quiet environment, convenient public transport, and close proximity to shops and hospitals. She searched for more than two years until August 2015, when she heard about a guesthouse, in what is now Wuxi’s Liangxi District, that was looking to transfer its 2,500-square-meter property. She checked out the site and found it ideal for a senior home. Even though it sat on the edge of a residential neighborhood — which in China would usually be gated and walled-off — it nevertheless had its own entrance. It was also close to a supermarket, a bus stop, and . . . . . read more


jan booij
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