In the 21st Century, economists and social analysts around the globe are increasingly concerned about the rising numbers of older people in their society. There are genuine concerns about the inadequacy of pension funds, of growing pressures on welfare systems, and on the inability of shrinking numbers of younger people to carry the burden of their elders. This article focuses on such gerontological issues in China, where the older people have become a rapidly expanding proportion of the population. While resources do need to be targeted on the vulnerable older people, the presumption that older people as a whole are an economic and social burden must be questioned. This is an ageist view that needs to be combated by locating how bio-medical views on aging seep into policy spaces in China that position negative perceptions of aging as both individual and populational problems. The article then moves to observe the implications of bio-medicine for older people in China in terms of "vulnerable" aging but deconstruct such "fixed" explanations by juxtaposing active aging as key narrative that epitomizes "declining to decline" as espoused by bio-medical sciences.
International Letters of Social and Humanistic Sciences (Volume 48)