Annual Meeting 2018: Chinese elderly and the influence of Christianity and Confucianism

Conny van der Aalsvort

In this meeting Tina Pan, Conny van der Aalsvoort and the participants shared their experiences with the Chinese elderly in their countries. We learned from each other but especially from Tina Pan who presented some results from her study amongst Chinese elderly in Belgium and The Netherlands.

The Chinese elderly are still quite invisible but their numbers have doubled in the last 10 years.

Tina explains that Confucianism is not a religion but it plays a religious role. It is the basis of Chinese culture and there are two main charateristics:

         It is relation focused  and the view of of relationships is hierarchical. Western philosophy regards individuals as an autonomous entity, Confucianism regards man as relational being which exists in relations to others.

         Persuit of harmony is very important. Western societies emphasizes citizen’s rights and self-determination, while Confucianism emphasizes harmony and avoidance of conflict.

Conny has shared her expience with a Chinese Chistian group in Nijmegen. Building on the relations with this group, they have now formed a mixed meeting group of 35 Chinese elderly. It is important to get to know each other better and share information about wishes/needs of the elderly and about the possibilities of the Dutch care and welfare system.