China raises retirement age to combat ageing

With its aging population peaking, China is now trying to limit the damage by finding ways to deal with the looming crisis. In this quest, Beijing now plans to raise the retirement age gradually and in stages, the country’s state media, Global Times, reported Tuesday, citing a senior expert from China’s Ministry of Human Resources.

Jin Weigang, president of the Chinese Academy of Labor and Social Security Sciences, said China is pursuing a “progressive, flexible and differentiated path to raise the retirement age”. This suggested that the retirement age is initially delayed for only a few months, but could be raised in stages later on.

“People approaching retirement age only need to postpone retirement for a few months,” Jin said. “The main feature of the reform is that people can choose when to retire depending on their circumstances and conditions.”

But no official announcement has been made on this matter and things are still in the pipeline as the country makes its way to implement the new norms and changes in the face of the shrinking youth workforce.

Currently, the retirement age in China is 60 for men and 55 for white-collar workers. Meanwhile, the retirement age for women working in factories is 50 years. Li Qiang, who took over the reins of China’s new premiere on Saturday, is already starting to tackle the country’s economic challenges, both nationally and internationally.

He is a close ally of Chinese President Xi Jinping and is expected to shake up the country’s slumbering economy. Li said on Monday that China will take an analytical approach before rolling out any policies. China’s 1.4 billion people are the largest in the world, even though India is reportedly set to overtake China in terms of population by 2023.

China’s now-abolished one-child policy, which was in effect from 1980 to 2015, also proved to be a significant setback for the country, as its implementation led to a population decline. With the aging of the country increasing, pension budgets are also coming under pressure. Paying pensions to the rapidly aging population is not seen as a sustainable approach.

A total of 31 provinces are faced with the problem of the pension budget deficit. The situation is so dire that according to data from the state-run Chinese Academy of Sciences, the pension system will run out of money by 2035. recent years.

The country’s life expectancy has also increased from about 44 years in 1960 to 78 years as of 2021. This is higher than the US and is expected to exceed 80 years by 2050.

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