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China Daily Website

Most opposed to increasing retirement age

Updated: 2013-09-01 23:23
By He Dan ( China Daily)

An overwhelming majority of those questioned in an online survey expressed opposition to a proposal pushing back the retirement age.

Nearly 95 percent of some 25,300 polled netizens said they were against the prospect of the retirement age being increased, according to the survey jointly conducted by the Beijing-based China Youth Daily and Sohu, a leading news portal.

The retirement age in China is 60 for male employees, 55 for female officials and 50 for female workers. Retirees can claim a pension immediately.

Delaying the pension age would relieve the State's financial burden in supporting a rapidly aging population, according to a proposal released by Tsinghua University earlier this month. It suggested that the government should lift the pension age for workers, both men and women, to 65 from 2030.

Yang Yansui, director of the Tsinghua Center for Employment and Social Security and one of the drafters of the proposal, said it is a matter of urgency for China to lift the pension age given the accelerated imbalance between the working-aged population and the number of senior citizens.

Currently, it takes about seven workers to support one pensioner over 65.

If there is no change to the system, in 2035, it will take two workers to support a pensioner and this would place a heavy burden on the economy, Yang said.

However, about 91 percent of respondents said that they were unwilling to work until 65. Most of the surveyed were aged between 24 to 53, according China Youth Daily on Thursday.

Some 60 percent believed they would be physically incapable of working up to 65 and half of them said increasing the retirement age would make it harder for younger people to get work.

Ma Chenkai, department manager of a toy company in Dongguan, Guangdong province, said it is unrealistic to require blue-collar workers to postpone retirement.

"It's physically demanding to work in manufacturing workshops, eyesight and energy levels deteriorate," Ma, 43, said.

"Plus, their wages will not rise that much even if they continue to work. So the option of looking after their grandchildren at home becomes even more attractive."

More than 60 percent of those polled believed China should introduce more flexible retirement arrangements for people from different walks of life.

Li Guizhen, associate chief technician from the department of laboratory medicine in the Tianjin Academy of Traditional Chinese Medicine Affiliated Hospital, said she would be happy to prolong her working life, as she believes it is a waste of medical expertise to let female paramedics retire at 55.

"It takes years of education and training to become a senior medical professional and I feel energetic, so I prefer to contribute more to society," said Li.

There is no one-size-fits-all solution in terms of the retirement age and the government should allow people to have more options, based on health and their attitude, Li said. She also agreed that the retirement age for government officials should not be pushed back as this would increase the taxpayers' burden.

Liu Yiran contributed to this story.

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