As China’s Economy Stutters, the Elderly Are Emerging as Big Spenders


Zheng Peijun hasn’t let China’s “zero-COVID” restrictions stop her having a good time.  Before the pandemic, the 60-year-old used to go on vacations all over the world: to the United States, Southeast Asia, and a dozen different European countries. This year, she’s had to stay within China, but she’s traveling even more than before. This week, she’s spending the National Day holiday hiking with her … Continue reading As China’s Economy Stutters, the Elderly Are Emerging as Big Spenders

In ‘Zero-COVID’ China, the Elderly Are Becoming Ever More Marginalized


SHANGHAI — For years, Gu Hong has enjoyed visiting the local deli near her home. Whenever the 73-year-old didn’t feel like cooking, she’d wander down the street to buy a steaming plate of sweet-and-sour ribs. Then Shanghai went into lockdown, and everything changed. When Gu returned to the deli in June, she found herself barred from entering. “The staff said I had to scan the … Continue reading In ‘Zero-COVID’ China, the Elderly Are Becoming Ever More Marginalized

On Chinese Dating Shows, the Stars Are Old, Single, and Ready to Mingle


Inside a colorfully lit TV studio, a middle-aged woman dressed in a tight-fitting silk dress is trying to convince an older man to loosen up. “Can we hold hands and hug right now?” she asks, stepping toward him. The man, a 60-something wearing a traditional Tang jacket, looks visibly shocked by how forward she’s being. “Holding hands is fine,” he replies awkwardly. But the woman … Continue reading On Chinese Dating Shows, the Stars Are Old, Single, and Ready to Mingle

China’s Solution for Loneliness: Play Time for Grown-ups


SHANGHAI — Inside a downtown community center, eight retirees are sitting around a table, each clutching a length of plastic drainpipe. “Everyone pass the ball through your drainpipe one by one,” a social worker instructs the group. “Anyone who fails to catch and pass on the ball will receive a ‘punishment,’” she adds with a smile. It’s playtime at Huayang Integrated Elder Care Center, and … Continue reading China’s Solution for Loneliness: Play Time for Grown-ups

Who Will Care for China’s Aging Population? The Elderly.


SHANGHAI — At 71 years old, Pan Guoli is over a decade into her retirement. But in her neighborhood, she’s now considered a prime job candidate. Hongqiao, a subdistrict of western Shanghai, is one of many places in the Chinese megacity struggling to cope with a rapidly aging population. Nearly four in 10 residents are over 60 years old — and the social care system … Continue reading Who Will Care for China’s Aging Population? The Elderly.