Charles McGrath and the Mystery of the Missing Elderly

"Visitors to the Olympics," Charles McGrath writes in today’s New York Times, "…can be forgiven for thinking that China is a land of unnatural youthfulness where nobody is older than 30…..Older Chinese, and there are plenty in Beijing, are mostly out of sight."

Are they? As of today, the old people seemed to be exactly where they’ve been all month: sitting in twos or threes every 50 yards or so along every roadside, all over the city, wearing white Yanjing Beer polo shirts and red armbands. Or manning the sidewalk volunteer information booths in the neighborhoods.

But all McGrath sees is an army of college students, smiling at him in their Olympic-volunteer polo shirts. This despite an omniscient eye–one that can see right into the soul of a nation:

There are few middle-age volunteers, in part, perhaps, because people in their 40s and 50s have lived through some of China’s political upheavals and have more complicated feelings about the country than the patriotic young.

Or perhaps because, unlike college students, middle-aged people already have jobs? Maybe someone could ask them, if any can be found to be asked. There might be some outside the Olympic Green somewhere? Charles McGrath and the Mystery of the Missing Elderly