Human Rights China

One Way to Remove Old People’s Worries

Ms. Wanying Ni, Associate Professor at the College of Humanities, DongHua University in China, has joined the Institute in Lund as a Guest Scholar to do research on a concept, called a time bank, that encourage people of all ages to volunteer to help elderly in turn for getting help when they are older themselves.

In recent years, many big cities in China are challenged by a growing aging population. “The large number of elderly people, together with the fact that China is a developing country, makes some people afraid of growing old without getting any help. And to a certain extent, that’s the reality for many,” says Wanying.

The question Wanying asks is how to remove the old people’s worries. ”I put forward an idea, hoping to solve the problem of China’s aging society,” she says.

The so-called time bank is a valuable model to encourage the participation of volunteers of all ages to take care of the elderly.

”The hours of voluntary service for elderly people in need are deposited in an account, and when the volunteers themselves get old and need help, they can get free help from others,” Wanying says. ”However, there are still a few problems, and my study aims to make necessary improvements. With a high degree of awareness and support from the government, the existing time bank concept will surely be able to spread in the aging China to better serve the elderly and benefit the whole society.”

Ms. Ni’s study will focus on the problematic areas of time banks, such as the deposit and withdraw, the protection of volunteers, the evaluation system, and the government’s role in the system. ”I’ll try to find the best solutions based on a thorough research and inquiry. By learning the legislation and experiences from Sweden and other developed countries, I hope to solve the problems in China” she says.

Wanting Ni started working in a police officer college in Anhui Province in 1987, where she found that many vulnerable groups in the community couldn’t be effectively protected. ”I wanted to do something for them, so I chose to protect human rights as my own legal professional,” she says.

In 1996, she was admitted to North-West University of Political Science and Law University, and three years later, she graduated with a MA degree. In 2005, she was admitted to the University of East China University of Political Science and Law, where she got her Ph.D. degree.

Wanying Ni’s interests lie mainly in the protection of the rights of vulnerable groups, in particular the rights and interests of the elderly and women. ”Sweden enjoys a high standard in social welfare and an effective system for human rights protection. What’s more, the Raoul Wallenberg Institute is world famous and has done a lot of great achievements in my interested areas. I have been admiring RWI for a long time and sincerely hope to be able to learn a lot here,” Wanying says.

It’s both the access to the rich material in the institute library and the collaboration with the Institute’s experts and scholars that she hopes will benefit her in her work.

”To be frank, I hope I will be able to take my experiences from Sweden and introduce it in China, and if it’s possible, I hope I will be able to work together with the RWI experts and scholars in similar research projects even in the future. I’m very grateful for this experience, and I’m realizing that I’m falling in love with both Lund and RWI,” says Wanying.

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