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Remarks by Ambassador Luo Zhaohui at Charity Dinner for Hospice Care

Ms. Janet Dunbrack, Chair of Hospice Care Ottawa Board of Directors,

Vice-Chair John Laframboise,

Ladies and gentlemen,

It is a pleasure to host tonight's charity dinner for Hospice Care Ottawa.

Canadian charitable organisations are doing a wonderful job for those in need. I am indeed impressed.

At this very place last April, I hosted an event of like today's dinner to raise funds for the development of the community where I live. In fact, the Chinese embassy in Canada has hosted or participated in charity events every year.

All men and women will go through an end-of-life journey. End-of-life care is therefore very important. Such care is about respect for life. Such care requires joint efforts of all social sectors.

As I have learnt, under the core values of courage, compassion, community, collaboration and commitment, Hospice Care Ottawa is committed to providing compassionate high quality end-of-life care for the elderly, terminally ill individuals and their families when and where needed. What you have done has helped to strengthen harmony in the local community.

As you are surely aware, this dinner has been made possible through a "quiet auction". Mr. John Laframboise is the successful bidder. His purchase of the dinner has raised some funds for Hospice Care Ottawa. We may not have much money, but our love for the needy is unlimited. It is particularly meaningful that money we make through hard work will be used for a good or charity purpose.

Ladies and gentlemen,

The modern concept and practice of hospice care is relatively new in China. This is due to two reasons. One is that China is still a developing country and our social security system is yet to be further improved. The other is China's long and entrenched tradition, i.e. child is to provide end-of-life care for parents. We have a saying in Chinese, "filial piety is the paramount virtue". Chinese tend to provide end-of-life care to their ageing or terminally ill parents all by themselves rather than sending them to a hospice care centre or house, for it is widely considered an unfilial act in Chinese traditional filial piety if they choose to do so.

That said, as China's population is ageing rapidly and the burden on the only-child generation is mounting, end-of-life care at home is getting increasingly difficult if not virtually impossible. Hospice care has become a social issue not to be neglected or underestimated.

China's ageing population growth is the fastest in the world and its elderly population is the world's largest. China's family size is shrinking at a faster rate than any other country in the world. As of the end of 2014, there were 212 million people aged 60 or older in China, accounting for 15.5 per cent of China's total population. It is estimated the figure will be 400 million or more by the middle of this century. In other words, there will be an elderly person among every three Chinese by then.

In view of the above, we are willing to learn from Canada and other countries in the care of ageing population. China will speed up its efforts to establish and develop a hospice care network to meet the needs of its people. I hope contacts could soon be established between relevant Chinese institutions and Hospice Care Ottawa so that we can share and benefit from Canada's successful experience.

Thank you.

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