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A tough start in life has led to a gilded retirement for China’s elders

  • Author:naky
  • Source:www.diecastingpartsupplier.com
  • Release on:2015-07-20
Sixty became the new 40 in the west a while ago — but I never thought I’d see that day in China.NB VIDEO NEEDS TO ACCOMPANY THIS NOTEBOOK

The mainland’s sixtysomethings have led a more harrowing life than the average Botoxed Baby Boomer. When they were little, Mao Zedong gave them the Great Leap Forward and a famine that killed millions; when they were teens, there was the Cultural Revolution. Famine, revolution and political pogroms do tend to age one so.

But 30 years of prosperity later, China’s elders seem to be ready to relive the youth they never had — and to spend money on it. They aren’t all sitting around hoarding their renminbi and meddling in the lives of their children, as the conventional wisdom has it. Urban middle-class seniors are taking up sports such as hiking, biking and “square dancing”, in addition to more traditional pursuits such as taichi, mah-jong and minding other’s people’s business.

Paradoxically, it is the same Communist party that took away their youth that is giving them the time, the money and the financial freedom to enjoy their dotage. City-dwelling mainlanders retire frightfully young (as early as 55 for men and 45 for women), enjoy an ample pension (unlike rural contemporaries) and own valuable homes that were practically given to them when Beijing privatised the urban housing stock at the end of the last century.

It’s been described as the biggest ever one-off transfer of wealth, and it fell right into the lap of today’s 60-plus hikers, bikers and square dancers — people such as the sprightly old geezers in Shanghai’s Ruijin Sub-district Cycling Club. They dress up in skin-tight neon and Lycra for weekend cycling excursions that are rarely shorter than 100km a day.

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