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Letter from Beijing

China’s elderly population now totals 185m. How will the country cope?

By Helen Gao   209

Former Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao at Beijing No.1 Social Welfare House, a nursing home with a 100-year waiting list

Former Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao at Beijing No.1 Social Welfare House, a nursing home with a 100-year waiting list

When I walk into my grandparents’ bedroom, grandma is not in her usual spot, reclining against the rusty headboard of her queen-sized bed. Instead, she is sitting on grandpa’s bed, two feet apart from her own, while he perches on a creaky chair by the window, a dazed look on his face. Spread out on grandma’s bed is the cotton quilt she uses all year long. Mum, sitting on a…

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