Experts Propose Increasing China’s Reitrement Age to 65

Elderly Chinese practicing taichi and exercising at a park in Beijing.

Two old Chinese men playing Chinese chess at a park.

From NetEase:

Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security expert recommends pushing retirement age back to 65

A discussion forum on strategies for proactively responding to the aging population convened in the capital yesterday. Head of the Human Resources and Social Security Research Institute He Ping suggested that our country should progressively prolong the retirement age, proposing that by 2045 the retirement age be 65 years old for both men and women.

Extending the retirement age from 60 to 65 in China.

Severe labor force shortage

According to the second global population census data, our country is the only country in the world where the elderly population exceeds 100 million. In 2010, our country’s elderly age 60 and above already reached 178 million, 23.6% of the of the entire world’s elderly population. This signifies that 1/4 of the elderly population is concentrated in China.

Director of The Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (CASS) World Social Security Research Center Zheng Bingwn indicated that the aging of the population means the ratio of the burden the elderly have on the the population is constantly increasing while the contributions of the labor force is decreasing.

Zheng Bingwen explained that our country’s working age population will decrease from 970 million in 2010 to 870 million in 2050. The inflection point will occur in 2015, when the 998 million peak will be reached and then begin decreasing year after year, averaging a decrease of 3.66 million per year.

Director of the Quantitative Economy and Technical Economy Research Analysis Office of the CASS Li Jun predicts that by 2050, our country’s 15-59 year old labor force population will decline to 710 million people, a decrease of about 230 million from 2010. From 2030 onwards, a serious shortage will manifest itself in our country’s labor force supply.

Recommend extending the retirement age to 65

Facing the undeniable fact of our country’s aging population, many experts on the discussion forum once again proposed gradually pushing the retirement age back to slow the speed of the decrease in the labor force.

Director He Ping of China's Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security.
Director He Ping of China's Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security.

Director of the Social Security Research Institute of the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security He Ping mentioned that many foreign aging countries have adopted and are using external mechanisms to guide members of the labor force to voluntarily extend their retirement ages to combat their aging population. He recommended that our country begin implementing a policy of extending the retirement age beginning from 2016, with the retirement age being pushed back a year every two years. By 2045, the retirement age for both men and women would be 65 years old.

Li Jun also recommends a timely increase in the retirement age. He expressed that this aim is not to promote growth but to reduce the speed of the shrinking of the overall labor force size, to weaken the anticipated increase in costs to the labor force. But he pointed out that the age of retirement is extremely important, and must be treated cautiously in policy making.

Strengthen elderly training

Head of the Population and Labor Economy Research Institute of CASS Cai Fang suggested that along with the progressive decline of our country’s labor force population, our country should progressively delay the retirement age as well as strengthen training for the elderly to create opportunities for those affected by the extending of the retirement age.

Cai Fang spoke frankly that the older the person is in our country’s population, the lower their level of education is. Therefore, our country currently does not have the conditions for extending the retirement age.

He recommends that the retirement age could adopt a flexible system, to fully use a portion of high skilled and high quality labor capital. At the same time, for the ordinary laborers with inadequate education, we can adopt prioritizing education and strengthening training to increase their level of education, thus increasing their ability to serve in their positions.

Elderly Chinese practicing taichi and exercising at a park in Beijing.

This article received a lot of attention on popular Chinese portal NetEase, attracting over 22k comments and 500k participants spanning over 750 pages after it was published early this morning, making it far and away the most popular and most discussed topic on the site today…

Comments on NetEase:

richardma80 [网易辽宁省沈阳市网友]:

Looks like the world is going to change, ding not extending the retirement age!!!

canadatrae [网易加拿大网友]:

Regarding China’s retirement pension and health insurance, I will only post a viewpoint that represents myself. you guys should first solve the double track problem and then talk about extending the retirement age. Looking at the world, what country still has the dual track system? Does the United States, Canada, Australia, Singapore/New Zealand? England, France, Germany? Japan, Korea? I won’t even mention the rest, but Canada has achieved a social security system that includes health insurance and retirement benefits that is truly fair and equal. For example, medical insurance here is not like in China where there are distinctions for publicly provided medical treatment for public servants and medical insurance for ordinary workers. In Canada, whether a civil servant or a citizen, your medical insurance is a unified system where you enjoy the same treatment. To take another example, the old-age insurance here is also unlike the dual-track system in China and public servants and citizens have completely the same old-age insurance. As long as you’ve worked and have retired, you can collect two sums of money, one an old-age pension and another a retirement pension. It isn’t possible here for civil servants to retire and get a retirement pension that is several times more than ordinary workers. On this point, how come you guys can’t bring yourself in alignment with international standards?


The life expectancy in China is 73 years old, and if you only start paying [retirement benefits] at 65, what the fuck are you guys trying to do? Fucking social security, I’m not paying it anymore!

墨荷物语 [网易吉林省长春市网友]:

Those people in the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security who collect high salaries and don’t do anything are again spouting bullshit. Let them go onto the construction sites and work for a few days and they will no longer suggest extending the retirement age.

最爱芊芊 [网易江苏省扬州市网友]:

Can you return the [social security taxes] I’ve paid back to me?

拿钱发帖全家高铁 [网易江苏省常州市网友]:

If I retire at 65, just how many more years will I live? These experts are simply fuckers.

hntangxh [网易湖南省衡阳市雁峰区网友]:

Director He Ping, spokesperson for vampires. Those who are government officials laugh, while the ordinary common people cry.

ltjinzhuxuexiao [网易吉林省吉林市网友]:

With the present medical care system, me living to 60 would be a long life.

107114690 [网易湖南省长沙市手机网友]:

Motherfuckers, retiring at 65, and you still call that fucking social security! Never motherfucking paying [into the system] again. If people retire at 65, will there still be any jobs for the young? Fucking blind experts, fuck your mothers! Collecting fucking high salaries to say this blind fucking irresponsible shit!

快乐的老豆 [网易陕西省西安市网友]:

Still thinking of what’s best for the eunuchs [government officials]? Should retired workers also be extended to 70 years old?

How would you solve the aging population problem?

An old Chinese man practicing taiji in Xi'an.


Written by Fauna

Fauna is a mysterious young Shanghainese girl who lives in the only place a Shanghainese person would ever want to live: Shanghai. In mid-2008, she started chinaSMACK to combine her hobby of browsing Chinese internet forums with her goal of improving her English. Through her tireless translation of popular Chinese internet news and phenomenon, her English has apparently gotten dramatically better. At least, reading and writing-wise. Unfortunately, she's still not confident enough to have written this bio, about herself, by herself.


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