Research on the Potential Age Discrimination to the Senior Citizens in China

Monday, July 14, 2014: 4:30 PM
Room: Booth 40
Oral Presentation
Xu CHEN , Wuhan University, Wuhan, China
Background: The “Law of the People’s Republic of China on Protection of the Rights and Interests of the Elderly” has forbidden the discrimination and insults to the senior citizens in China. However, in daily lives, the elderly still have to confront various forms of discriminations.

Method: This is a qualitative research, using intensive interview research method. 28 senior citizens were interviewed in Beijing and Wuhan City.


(1) There are three different types of age discrimination: Positive, negative and “side-effect” discrimination. The positive discrimination is a behavior that directly insults the elderly such as scolding the elderly. The negative discrimination is the ignoring of the appeal of the elderly. The “side-effect” is a byproduct when helping the elderly. For instance, the deaf elderly may be grounded due to safety reasons. The negative and “side-effect” discrimination make up of the potential age discrimination.

(2) The family, community, society and policy are all involved in the potential discrimination. On the aspect of the family, the excessive care given to the elderly is a form of discrimination to their self-care ability. On the aspect of the community, those living high in the apartments or disabled are often not invited to the community activities. On the aspect of the society, the media and press reinforce the frail stereotypes of the elderly. On the aspect of the policy, the existing defects contribute to the discrimination of the elderly.

(3) In order to solve the problems of the potential discrimination to the elderly, the policy, media and press need a relevant change. The effects of the social work should be emphasized, too. This will be a hard and long-lasting task.