individual task week 2

Yuyuan Zhang

381MC expert interview (relate to the dissertation)

When the children grow up become the adult, at the same time, their parents from adult become the elderly, and they need their children to take care and to accompany. However, in current society, the adults are always busy with their work usually ignore their parents. This situation made their parents feel lonely and lack the sense of security. This interview questions are surrounded by this topic.

Yuan Yao, who is a professor, doctoral supervisor at the university of RenMin university of China, and head of the professional committee of China’s population society. He has two main research directions: 1. Population sociology: lay particular stress on the theory, fertility culture and population history. 2. Old age sociology: mainly focus on aging theory, aging policy, old-age culture, and family. Including studies of <Chinese family pension>, <informal support of theory and prctice>, and <social gerontology>etc.

At the beginning of the interview, the point from his article of <know aging society as soon as possible> is the phenomenon of ageing society, which is the main question of this interview. From his answer, the data shown by him made me shock a lot. So far, number of elderly people aged over 60 in China has been more than two hundred million, take up 14.9% of the population. He also pointed out the proportion was significantly higher than the 10% of the United Nations traditional aging social standards. He predicted that in the next 20 years China would enter the aging peak and average annual increase of 10 million old people.

Additionally, he described the main reasons about the phenomenon from a professional standpoint. Sometimes, some social phenomenon caused the conflict between the elderly and young people, in fact, this is our country population aging reflects in a microscopic in their life. It reflects as the elderly in the population increasing and people’s awareness of rights, resulting in a change of intergenerational relationship between old and young people. In addition, another change caused by the aging society is a series of economic and social problems.

Moreover,we had a great discussion about the theory of ‘economic exchange relations between generation and generation’, which was many scholar focus on. And professor Yao gave his different view: ‘ This is an economic exchange theory, created by YaJun Du(1990), people of different ages in different position in social economic activities, and they create different products, provide different labor, and the demand for social products are also different, so here is the necessity of exchange between generation and generation’.

At the end of the interview, professor Yao indicated that is not a simple moral issue to be good to old people, but a complicated and important issue. It guarantees the elderly’s life, and this special role not only for China’s social development and also for modernization. The most unforgettable answer he gave is about the biggest difference between human and animal. He said that animals and people both had parental fertility to protect their offspring instinct to create conditions for their offspring. For example, some fish larvae do not leave their mother’s mouth until they grew up, during more than one month, their mother cannot eat anything. But when the young fish grow up, they can’t take care of their mother who give the birth to them, and protect them. So, to some extent, I agree with this point, this behavior only human can do. If people who do not take care of their parents, they just like animals.

Many thanks for professor Yao’s time, although the time is restricted, his answers made me know more and have a new look about Chinese aging society. Obviously, aging issue is becoming more and more serious especially for national economy and social stability. Before the coming of aging society, how to deal with this issue is our primary problem. According to the point of professor Yao, I think government need to pay more attention on this problem, and also the public.

Due to the interview was taken in Chinese, maybe I cannot translate very exactly.

Also, I’m a little confused about some theory he mentioned above, but he’s answer still touched me very deep. I’m very lucky to interview him.

Bibliography:, (2014). 血亲价值论:对中国家庭养老机制的理论探讨_中国人口科学. [online] Available at: [Accessed 25 Nov. 2014].

China’s Aging Population in the Twenty-first Century How Shall We Respond?. (2001). Chinese Sociology & Anthropology.

Foot, D. (2013). An Older, Wiser World: Some Economic Consequences of Population Aging.Public Policy & Aging Report.

Shen, Y. (2009). Aging of the Population and the Government Responsibility—The Advanced Age Turn of Chinese Population.


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