Whether to postpone retirement stirs controversy in China

16:23, September 15, 2010      

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The State Council Information Office of the People's Republic of China released a white paper titled "Human Resources Condition in China" on Sept. 10. According to the white paper, two taxpayers will support every one person entitled to pension in 2035, and that it is time to think critically about the aging population.

At present, China is considering whether or not to push back the retirement age. The topic has been hotly debated since it first surfaced. In an online survey that asked the question: "Do you support postponed retirement?" 92 percent of the 200,000 respondents voted against it, said Wang Xiaochu, vice director of the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security.

According to sources, the issue has been widely discussed in recent years. When it was brought up again, it immediately became a hot topic among netizens, and the unemployed became the major opponents.

A netizen nicknamed "Xiao Liu" said if experienced employees do not retire, the number of new vacancies will certainly shrink.

There are more than 110 million people working in Chinese cities and towns, and about 3 million people retire every year, accounting for 3 percent of the employed in cities and towns. As about only 10 million new jobs are available every year, extending the retirement age means finding a new job will be 30 percent more difficult, according to the statistics from related departments.

Moreover, some netizens said that for the unemployed, postponed retirement means that they will not receive pensions until several years later and will have to pay pension dues for more years. According to experts' calculations, extending the retirement age will bring 4 billion yuan more to China’s pension fund every year, cut expenditures by 16 billion yuan and fill a funding gap of about 20 billion yuan.

Some netizens said that in terms of personnel training, normally people younger than 30 years old are in their learning stage. They argue it is a great waste of resources to both the state and individual if they retire after working for about 30 years. Therefore, extending the retirement age will greatly advance the rational use of human resources.

Extending the retirement age is a trend of the times from the national view, said Sun Qunyi, researcher at the Ministry of Labor and Social Security of the People's Republic of China.

"First, China's retirement age is relatively low from a global standpoint. With the increase of people's quality of lives, their work capacity and physical fitness are also improved, which has created good conditions for extending the retirement age," Sun said.

In addition, Sun thinks that China is a serious aging society and the national pension insurance fund has not allowed citizens to retire early under the existing retirement system.

"Therefore extending the retirement age is inevitable," he said.

By People's Daily Online

(Editor:叶欣)

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