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    Kennis | 知识

Schermafdruk 2019 03 03 20.27.43For Qin Taixiao, old age is a time of loneliness and back-breaking labor. Every day in winter, the ailing 68-year-old wakes early, collects 50 kilograms (110 pounds) of firewood from the nearby forest, and hauls it home on his back. He does it again in the afternoon. Burning wood instead of coal is a cheaper way to stave off the freezing temperatures of the northern Chinese winter. Qin and his wife, Sun Sherong, have spent the past year almost entirely alone. They live in an isolated and largely abandoned village about 240 kilometers (150 miles) from Beijing. Between his trips to the forest, Qin manages his emphysema and colon cancer with the meager amounts of drugs he can afford. "What can I say?" he says. "Life's all right. There is no other way." His steely stoicism fades only when talking about his favorite time of the year -- the Lunar New Year. The week-long holiday is the only time he sees his three children. Like many others, Qin's children left the village years ago to find work, joining the relentless current of China's great urban migration spurred by its economic boom. Hundreds of millions have moved to cities in recent decades, leaving behind empty villages. Qin's problems are typical of those facing millions of families. China's population is aging extremely quickly, and many elderly people aren't sure if the country or their children will be able to support them. By 2050, more than 34% of China's citizens are projected to be more than 60 years old, according to the country's National Working Commission. That will amount to almost 500 million people, nearly twice as many as today. The nationwide effects of a decline in the working-age population could be drastic and wide-ranging. Experts have long warned China could "get old before getting rich"as the aging population becomes a drag on economic growth. And with fewer working people contributing to the government's coffers, the stress on Beijing's finances will become increasingly acute. "For the next few years, the number of elderly people will grow . . . .  read more on CNN

Photo - CNN Nathalie Thomas

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