Archive for ‘retirement pensions’

10/12/2018

Violent veterans rally in China leads to 10 arrests

Ten suspects have been arrested for organising a “serious attack” on police officers during a veterans’ protest in northern China in October, according to state media.

According to People’s Daily, the accused organised a protest by 300 people from across the country, calling for better benefits for veterans, at a major public square in Pingdu, Shandong province.

During the assembly, some of the rally participants, led by the 10 suspects, acted violently towards the police and smashed police vehicles, the provincial police authority said, adding that their actions had caused injuries and led to substantial economic losses.

The report said 34 people, including an unknown number of police officers, were wounded in the violence, including two senior people officers who were seriously injured. In addition, a police bus and three private cars were destroyed.

More than 100 shops were forced to close during the rally and 11 buses had to change their routes to avoid the violence. Direct economic losses were estimated to have reached 8.2 million yuan (US$1.1 million).

The incident, on October 6, attracted the attention of the Ministry of Public Security as one of only a few large-scale examples of social unrest on the mainland over the past few years.

The People’s Daily report did not say if the 10 suspects were veterans, but local police said they had “complicated backgrounds” including criminal records in some cases.

All of the arrested are residents of Pingdu.

They are alleged to have used social media to contact people across the country and to have encouraged them to file petitions in Beijing during the “golden week” holiday, at the start of October, while posing as tourists.

They are also accused of spreading fake messages on social media after their plans were thwarted by authorities in Pingdu.

The suspects are reported to have told their followers they had been beaten up by government officials and encouraged them to support them by coming to the city.

At noon on October 6, about 300 people appeared at the People’s Hall square in Pingdu, waving banners and chanting slogans, although the report was unclear what they were calling for.

Two of the accused are said to have addressed the event, inciting people to use violence against the government.

One of the suspects, surnamed Ge, 46, was quoted as saying: “Bring wooden sticks and iron shovels with you. Hit their heads and beat them to death.”

Another suspect, surnamed Ji, 55, is alleged to have said: “We should kill more people to shock the whole nation”, according to the report.

Police said the suspects hired cars to take 105 sticks, 60 hammers, 16 dry powder extinguishers and a bag of talcum powder to the assembly site.

According to a local government statement, offers to negotiate with the protesters were rejected. The demonstrators also refused to leave the square until they received financial compensation from the government.

The conflict is believed to have been triggered when police tried to stop people crossing a cordon to join the 30 protesters originally within the square.

A tussle ensued and eight people were taken to a police bus parked nearby.

Several minutes later, three of the suspects are said to have led 60 protesters in an attack on the police. The windows of the police bus were smashed and the fire extinguisher was discharged into the vehicle, forcing police officers and the eight detained protesters to climb on to the roof of the bus to escape the fumes.

According to the report, the protesters threw stones at the police officers while also continuing to spray them with the fire extinguisher.

The police officers behaved in accordance with the law throughout the riot, which lasted for 11 minutes, the report said.

The report did not say how many people who took part in the rally were veterans.

Police said one of the suspects, surnamed Zheng, had previously been jailed for obstructing police and provoking trouble. Another suspect, surnamed Yang, had previously been caught with drugs.

Police also said a suspect surnamed Liu had been jailed for two years for theft, while another, surnamed Ge, had previously been sentenced to two years in jail for fraud.

Veterans have been an important issue for the mainland authorities this year, with the establishment in April of the new Ministry of Veterans Affairs.

The ministry has been collecting personal information from veterans across the country between August and December, as a “first step” in developing a policy on what packages veterans will receive from China’s governments in future, according to officials.

Last month the ministry and the Communist Party’s Central Propaganda Department spearheaded a nationwide role model campaign in which the nation’s 10 “most beautiful veterans” were selected.

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04/12/2015

Selective Equality? China Retirement Age Plan Sparks Backlash Among Women – China Real Time Report – WSJ

China’s policy makers have long accepted the need for workers to delay retirement to ease social and fiscal pressures from a rapidly aging population. Few, however, could agree on how to do it.

This week, state-backed researchers fueled fresh debate on the issue with a new proposal on how to coax more productive years out of China’s silver-haired generation. They called for gradually extending the country’s statutory retirement thresholds over the next three decades, culminating in a flat retirement age of 65 years. But their plan is proving unpopular. It is particularly striking a nerve among some women, who in China can retire between five and ten years earlier than men. The statutory retirement age for men is set at 60 years.

On social media, many female users mocked what they perceived as selective pursuit of gender equality. “In 2045, would there be equal pay between men and women? Would men be able to give birth?” a user, who identified as female, wrote on the popular Weibo microblogging service. “Chinese society, in reality, is rife with gender inequality; why bring about gender equality in retirement age?” another user wrote.

In an online survey, the state-run China National Radio found nearly 80% of respondents objected to setting a flat retirement age for men and women. “Delaying retirement is understandable, but setting the same retirement age for men and women isn’t compatible with our country’s conditions,” CNR quoted a Weibo user as saying. “Men would only have to work five more years, while women would have to work ten years longer. And women still have to face family pressures, so it’s clearly unsuitable.”

The proposal from the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences comes amid a longstanding debate in government and academic circles on how to implement a much-needed but deeply unpopular policy. Beijing has said it will gradually raise retirement thresholds starting in 2022, though the policy would only be finalized in 2017. Under rules unchanged since the 1950s, China allows most female workers to retire when they turn 50, while women in public-sector jobs can do so at 55 years of age. To change this, the CASS researchers proposed that the government could in 2017 set a flat retirement age for women at 55 years, eliminating the distinction between private and public-sector workers. Authorities could begin extending retirement thresholds—for men and women—at a fixed pace, starting in 2018.

CASS researchers suggest adding a year to the female retirement age every three years, while doing so for men every six years. Beijing could also allow flexibility for workers to bring forward or delay their retirement by up to five years, on the condition that their pension payouts would be adjusted accordingly, CASS said.

Source: Selective Equality? China Retirement Age Plan Sparks Backlash Among Women – China Real Time Report – WSJ

11/03/2015

China to raise retirement age as pressure on pension fund rises | Reuters

China’s pension fund will come under tremendous pressure to break even in coming years and as such, the government needs to gradually raise the official retirement age to salvage the finances, a top official said on Tuesday.

Military delegates arrive for the opening of the annual full session of the National People's Congress, the country's parliament, at Tiananmen Square in Beijing March 5, 2015. REUTERS/Carlos Barria

Yin Weimin, minister of human resources and social security, said the government will gradually raise the official retirement age, which is as low as 50 for some female workers, but stressed that any policy changes will be phased in over five years.

He did not say when retirement ages will be raised.

Analysts have long warned about China’s state pension crisis and the severe funding shortage, with some estimating that the cash shortfall could rise to as high as nearly $11 trillion in the next 20 years.

Yin said the finances were not as dire for the moment, but warned about challenges ahead.

“The pension fund faces tremendous pressure in terms of breaking even in future,” he told reporters at a news briefing on the sidelines of the annual meeting of China’s parliament.

The fund’s income stood at 2.3 trillion yuan (243.28 billion pounds) in 2014, exceeding its expenditure of 2 trillion yuan for the year, he said.

But in coming years, the proportion of Chinese over the age of 60 will rise to 39 percent of the population, from 15 percent now, Yin said.

via China to raise retirement age as pressure on pension fund rises | Reuters.

01/11/2013

Chinese Rage at the Pension System – Businessweek

This public-sector / private pension imbalance is similar to that in the UK!

“When a Beijing professor recently suggested pushing back the age at which retirees get their pensions, China’s bloggers let loose. “You’re indeed completely without conscience, a mouth filled with poison and cruelty, your heart that of a beast,” wrote one blogger from Shenyang, in Liaoning province, on the online portal Sohu.com, according to ChinaSMACK, a website that translates Chinese Internet content. “The clamor to postpone the retirement age is getting louder, a raging fire burns in my heart,” wrote another from Jiangxi province. “Tsinghua University truly has raised a bunch of garbage professors,” wrote a blogger from Guangdong, referring to Yang Yansui, director of Tsinghua’s employment and social security institute, who raised the idea.

The heated responses reflect the crisis faced by China’s pension system. A shrinking workforce must support more than 200 million retirees. The government has moved in the last few years to add farmers, the unemployed, and migrant workers to its pension rolls, which now cover more than four-fifths of those registered in cities and 43 percent of rural Chinese.

1.6:1—Expected ratio in 2050 of working-age people supporting 1 retiree, down from 4.9 to 1 today

When top officials gather in Beijing on Nov. 9 to map out the next set of reforms, solving the pension crisis could well be high on their list. Last year for the first time, the working-age population—those 15 to 59 years old—declined, falling by 3.5 million to 937.3 million. People older than 60 make up 13 percent of the population. By 2050 that number will rise to 34 percent, estimates the World Bank. Today an average 4.9 Chinese of working age support one retiree. That ratio could fall to 1.6 by 2050, estimates Robert Pozen, a senior lecturer at Harvard Business School.”

via Chinese Rage at the Pension System – Businessweek.

24/10/2013

Forget About Retiring, China’s Economic Planners Say – Businessweek

What if Chinese were required to work an extra five years, or even a decade, before retirement? There are growing calls among officials and academics in China to consider that controversial move as the country’s rapidly aging population puts new stress on its pension program. China must consider “deferred retirement,” said Hu Xiaoyi, a vice minister of human resources and social security, on Oct. 22, speaking to journalists at a seminar in Beijing.

An elderly man carries bottles of water for sale as he makes his way along a business street in Beijing

Right now most of China’s workers retire earlier than those in many other countries. Men, for example, stop working at 60, while many women retire at 50, a precedent set in Mao-era 1950s China. That fact, along with the still strong one-child policy, complicates the task of managing the growing costs associated with an aging population and shrinking workforce.

According to China’s National Bureau of Statistics, in 2012 the number of those of employable age—formally classified as those from 15 to 59 years of age—actually fell, dropping by 3.45 million, to 937.27 million. “Last year, the working-age population dropped for the first time, a signal that China needs to make better use of its human resources,” said Hu, reported the China Daily on Oct. 23. ”China should raise the retirement age as soon as possible, but it must take small steps and make the transitional period long enough for the public to adapt,” said Zheng Bingwen, a pensions expert at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences in Beijing, reported the China Daily.

via Forget About Retiring, China’s Economic Planners Say – Businessweek.

17/09/2013

House-for-pension stirs Chinese debate on elder care

This post and another on China‘s labour force posted today illustrate how fast China is catching up with developed nations, not always for the better.

China Daily: “For 71-year-old Li Yuzhen, a life taking care of a sick husband and a mentally-disabled son in their two-bedroom apartment in the East China city of Hefei has not been easy.

The family of three nets a monthly income of 3,000 yuan ($487), but spends one third of it on medicine. They barely make ends meet with the rest of the money.

Li said they could not afford a nursing home, and she has to stay at home to look after her son, a man in his 40s but still unmarried due to his condition.

In an effort to explore elder care solutions for China’s rapidly aging society, the State Council, China’s Cabinet, vowed last week to complete a social care network for people over age 60 by 2020, when the age group is expected to reach 243 million. This group’s population had already reached 194 million by the end of 2012, giving China the largest senior population on earth.

One solution proposed is the house-for-pension program.

“The plan allows you to deed your house to an insurance company or bank, which will determine the value of your house and your life expectancy, and then grant you a certain amount every month,” said Meng Xiaosu, former CEO of Happy Life Insurance Co, Ltd.

“You can still live in your house, but the company or the bank has ownership,” Meng said.

The program, while only a suggestion, has drawn widespread concern and met with mixed views.

Zhan Chengfu, director of the division on social welfare and charity of the Ministry of Civil Affairs, said the program benefits both the elderly and insurance companies and banks as it can ease elderly care fund shortages, revitalize housing resources and expand the insurance business.

According to a joint study by the Bank of China (BOC) and Deutsche Bank last year, the aging population will leave China with a shortfall of 18.3 trillion yuan in pension funds by 2013 and create a heavy fiscal burden for the country.

Zheng Bingwen, a social security researcher at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, likened China’s pension system to a pyramid with the ground level being the basic pension pool, the middle level being companies’ supplementary pensions, and the top level being individuals’ commercial insurance. But the proportion of the total pension funds to gross domestic output is small compared to other BRICS nations.

“We need different channels to supplement funds shortage, and house-for-pension is likely to be a plausible way for elder care,” Zhang said.

However, the proposal stirred a heated public debate, especially among people whose parents have property and fear losing the inheritance.

via House-for-pension stirs debate on elder care[1]|chinadaily.com.cn.

See also: https://chindia-alert.org/political-factors/chinese-tensions/

10/07/2013

The Risky Business of Retirement in China

BusinessWeek: “It’s not surprising that China’s roller-coaster stock markets have earned scant investor confidence. On Tuesday, the respected Beijing financial magazine Caijing reported on a survey of 9,282 investors in Chinese stock markets. Over the lifetime of their investments, just 16 percent had seen net earnings of more than 10 percent; 70 percent had seen losses of more than 10 percent.

An investor watches the electronic board at a stock exchange hall on June 24, 2013 in Huaibei, China

The performance of the Shanghai Stock Exchange and Shenzhen Stock Exchange often seems bizarrely detached from national economic performance. Since the beginning of the year, the Shanghai Shenzhen 300 Index—an index of leading stocks on the two exchanges—is down 11.3 percent. Even the famed British money manager Anthony Bolton lost money when he came to China. Bolton, who managed Fidelity International Special Situations Fund for nearly three decades with a stunning average annual return of 19.5 percent, launched the investment trust Fidelity China Special Situations in 2010. Three years later, that fund is down 15 percent, and Bolton plans to step down next year.

The volatile performance of China’s stock markets gives pause to investors of all stripes, but it also unfortunately intersects with another worrying trend in China: the graying of the population. China today is home to 180 million people over age 60. That figure is expected to double to 360 million by 2030. According to Wang Feng, director of the Brookings-Tsinghua Center in Beijing, by 2030, at least one in five people in China will be over age 65. How can they prudently invest for retirement?

The average life expectancy in China is now 73 for men and 79 for women, up more than 12 years since 1970, thanks to improved health care and nutrition. But the mandatory retirement age for most workers in China is fairly low: 50 for women and 60 for men. As a comprehensive report by the Prudential Foundation and the Center for Strategic & International Studies, China’s Long March to Retirement Reform, put it, “older workers seem to have little place in China’s new economic order.” The report also found that as of 2007, only 65 percent of the urban workforce, including both civil servants and private-sector employees, was contributing to even a basic state-mandated pension plan.

For the past half decade, real estate has been the preferred investment vehicle in China. Only two decades old, China’s private real estate market has never yet seen a downturn. Home prices in many leading cities, however, have risen so quickly that many nonwealthy Chinese are struggling today to enter the market and buy their first homes, even with the help of parents’ and extended family’s savings. (To be sure, many analysts and even Chinese megadeveloper Vanke’s chairman, Wang Shi, say the country’s heated real estate market risks becoming a bubble: “If the bubble lasted, it will be dangerous,” Wang told a recent conference in Shanghai.)”

via The Risky Business of Retirement in China – Businessweek.

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