115-year-old Chengdu woman may be the world's oldest person

Fu Suqing, reportedly born on July 19, 1897, is still in relatively good health despite failing eyesight and vision

PUBLISHED : Friday, 05 July, 2013, 2:44pm
UPDATED : Friday, 05 July, 2013, 3:13pm

A 115-year-old woman from Chengdu city is on track to become the world’s oldest person, one Chinese newspaper claims.

Fu Suqing, currently living in Qianjin village in Chengdu’s Shuangliu county, will soon turn 116, Huaxi Metropolis Daily reported. The date on her identity card says she was born on July 19, 1897, although there is some discrepancy on this since China’s identity card system was only instituted in the 1980s. Staff from the Shangliu county public security bureau told Huaxi Metropolis Daily that while Fu’s true birth date was difficult to ascertain, they could confirm that at least according to household census registration information, she was “indeed 115 years old.”

According to the report, the thought of an upcoming birthday did not strike much of a chord in Fu. She has given birth to six children, two of which are still alive. Xu Shuhua, Fu’s younger surviving daughter, told reporters that her mother has never celebrated birthdays, and instead preferred to look forward to her daughters' occasional visits.

Xu added that her mother still had energy, could dress herself and move about well, but nevertheless “spent most of her time sitting or sleeping”.

Fu told reporters that her rapidly deteriorating eyesight and hearing had made her depressed lately. She said in the past she had gone on daily walks in her village, but now she generally did not move much, aside from occasionally picking vegetables, sweeping her house and “going to the toilet”.

Fu described her vision as like a “layer of hazy grey cloth masking her eyes”. She said that for her upcoming birthday, she only wished for someone to remove the “curtain” covering her eyes and give her a chance to leisurely walk around her village once more.

Fu’s neighbours in Qianjin village pointed out that the 115-year-old’s longevity was due to her hardworking nature and diligent attitude towards life. Fu’s grandson, Leng Qiyuan, said that Fu did not particularly pay attention to any special diet, and that she “especially loved to eat meat”.

Originally born in poverty in the mountain regions of Jianyang city, Sichuan province, Fu made a meagre living collecting firewood from the mountains but was forced to retire because of her poor vision.

If Fu continues living, she may be recognised by Guinness World Records as the world’s oldest person. The last person given the title was Japan’s Jiroemon Kimura, who passed away at the age of 116 on June 12. Chinese officials have disputed his status as the world’s oldest person, claiming that a 127-year-old woman named Luo Meizhen had died after him without being recognised. Sceptics say that these claims are questionable, arguing that China’s only recently-instituted identity card system makes it difficult to judge true birth dates.