Li Youmei: Shanghai’s Aging Level Severely Exceeds UN Standard and Support of Social Forces Urgently Needed
Created On : 2018-05-08    Views : 154

From the perspective of social construction, Shanghai should focus on the “shortcomings” of people's livelihood before re-starting reforms and opening up. We should improve the socialization, legalization, intelligence, and specialization of social governance and build a social governance system featuring co-construction, co-governance and sharing by centering on weak points in people’s livelihood.

According to General Secretary Xi Jinping, the prominent weakness of building a well-off society in an all-round way mainly lies in the field of the people's livelihood, and the issues of unbalanced development and underdevelopment are also largely reflected in guaranteeing the livelihood of different social groups. For Shanghai, aging is a new weakness in people's livelihood. In this aspect, the sense of gain is shifting from "quantity" to "quality" in a short period of time, its expectations are becoming increasingly difficult to grasp. As at December 31, 2017, those aged 60 years and above in Shanghai had reached 4.836 million, accounting for 33.2% of the total population. The degree of aging has severely exceeded the United Nations standard of 10% and the national average of 17.3%. Because the issue of ageing involves many aspects, the government alone is far from meeting various demands stemming from this issue. Therefore, the development of socialized public service has become an urgent task.

The advancement of people's livelihood and development in the new era must be based on the new thinking of reform and opening up. For example, the promotion of social public service must start from the innovation system, and small and micro enterprises, philanthropic foundations, and intermediaries must be cultivated. This means we must not only widely gather social, market, and other resources to build up a platform, but also guide the platform to form a co-construction responsibility mechanism. Furthermore, the government must offer the corresponding legitimated, intelligent, and professional support for the specific operation of this new-type resource supply mode, promote “public participation and public responsibility”, and finally realize “co-governance” with a broad social support and the “sharing” of governance achievements on that basis.

According to the report of the 19th CPC National Congress, by 2035, China would basically form a modern social governance pattern, in which the society is vibrant, harmonious, and orderly. This vitality should come from the whole society, not just social organizations. However, existing social organizations still heavily rely on the resources allocated by the government, namely relying on the government to directly purchase their services. According to the findings, these social organizations are less motivated and vital in terms of mechanism innovation. Therefore, it is suggested that Shanghai can take some steps forward in this respect, for example, by promoting the purchase of services by qualified social intermediary agencies, and by continuously reducing the direct purchase of services, so as to cultivate the healthy development of social services while better realizing the transformation of the government’s functions.

The social construction of Shanghai needs to better adapt to the new requirements for the social governance of megacities in a new era. This requires fine management, as well as the focus on the weakness in the field of people’s livelihood. For example, emergency clinics of grade A, class 3, public hospitals are seriously short of sickbeds and medical workers in general; because they mostly receive old people. The emergency environment of the elderly can directly affect the emotions of their families. It is hoped that Shanghai will consider introducing more social forces in solving this problem.

(The author is the First Vice President of Shanghai Academy)