China / Politics

Raising retirement age an 'inevitable choice'

By He Dan ( Updated: 2014-01-24 17:32

The central government is soliciting opinions on raising the retirement age for employees, said the spokesman for China's top human resource authority on Friday.

Li Zhong, the new spokesman of the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security, called the proposed decision "inevitable" due to the Chinese population's rapidly increasing life expectancy and the fact that it already is an aged society.

Li said average life expectancy in China is now 75 years but that the mandatory retirement ages of 60 for male workers, 55 for female officials and intellectuals, and 50 for other female employees had been set in the 1950s, when people didn't live as long.

Pushing back the retirement age is "an inevitable choice" also due to the declining size of China's working-age population, which has to support the nation's retirees, he said.

As of 2013, about 202 million Chinese citizens were older than 60, which accounted for 14.9 percent of the total population, figures released by the National Bureau of Statistics showed.

Li stressed that raising the legal age for retirement will also avoid wasting human resources, as many healthy older people, who are skilled and experienced, still want to work.

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