We had a discussion with students and researchers from Tsinghua University and Beijing University at Tsinghua University located in Beijing. The theme of this event was “Intergenerational Exchange in The Era of New Technology” and had two discussions entitled “Is the Diffusion of IT Devices Weakening the Relationship between Elderlies and Youth”, and “What Kind of Education Is Required in Aging Society”. In this discussion we mainly talked about the growing gap between youths and elderlies regarding the rapidly aging society of China.
There were mainly two points that we learnt from the discussion. Firstly, since the bond between family members are strong in China and many parents let grandparents raise their child, the issue of intergenerational gap was less concerned compared to Japan. Secondly, regarding the elderlies’ communication using digital devices, Chinese elderlies were using SNS spontaneously to enjoy video chat or voice message function. We understood that IT devices can stimulate intergenerational communication.
We visited national nursing home in Beijing, the Japanese embassy, JETRO, Xiongan New Area and BOXFISH. The national nursing home in Beijing was the typical model of the government plan for future nursing home which was made in a historical Chinese type of residence called Sihenyuan. We understood the style of nursing home Chinese government is planning to construct in the future.
At the Japanese embassy and JETRO, we learned that the Japanese government is cooperating with China to tackle problems caused by aging society, and Japanese firms are trying to enter the expanding senior market of China. Although we also learned that many companies are failing by merely trying to export the Japanese products or system and not consider the cultural difference.
In Xiongan New Area which is a new town constructed by Chinese government using latest technologies, we saw high-tech hotel or facilities for EVs. We couldn’t help but feel the speed of China’s remarkable development. In BOXFISH, which is a startup company selling education services using tablets, we were able to see the result of advanced technology and massive amount of invest in China.
During this study trip, we had an opportunity to visit the Forbidden City and the Summer Palace. We were amazed at the national power of China in the Qing dynasty.
When we think of aging society, we tend to consider it as a domestic issue, although through this trip, we understood that aging society is a worldwide issue these days. We felt that we the youths need to continue this project so that Japan can be the leader in this issue.
Beginning with Research center for Gerontology of Tsinghua University and the Japanese Embassy in China, we express our appreciation to all who shared time and cooperated with us.