06/24/2020, 13.11
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Beijing and aging: have all the children you want; put off retirement

by Wang Zhicheng

By 2035 there will be 314 million people aged 65 or over (181.6 million in 2020); 10 active people will have to support at least 3 retirees. The "two child" policy is not successful. Now the government is scrambling to promote more children, even through artificial insemination. The pension fund crisis. Learning from the west.

Beijing (AsiaNews) - After years of pursuing a violent one-child policy, China needs to remove all limits to family planning and reform the pension system, delaying retirement, in order to cope with an aging population and shrinking labor force.

These are the conclusions of the Chinese Foundation for Research and Development contained in a report made public on June 11 and presented in the Caixin magazine. The Foundation is affiliated to the Council of State's Center for Research and Development.

The report shows that by 2035, people aged 65 or over will number 314 million (in 2020 there are 181.6 million). This means 22.3% of the population in 2035; 27.9 in 2050 (in 2019 it was only 12.6%).

The consequence of this rapid aging will lead to a reduction in the workforce that will go from 980 million in 2019 to 900 million in 2035. By 2035, 10 active people will have to support at least 3 inactive or retired people. In 2019 the proportion is 10 to 1.16.

Demographers and economists have long pushed the Chinese government to remove all limits in the generation of children. Since the 1980s, China enforced a mandatory one-child law, often through radical and violent means.

In 2016, the government launched a "two children" policy. But apparently this has failed to produce the hoped for results: many couples do not want to have children at all, or they only want one because they consider more than one child too expensive.

According to some members of the Academy of Social Sciences, to facilitate new births, the state must promote pregnancies, artificial insemination, parental help, especially in areas where the population is older.

Another element to be pressed for is the raising of the retirement age. Until now, China has set retirement at 60 for men, 55 for women. In addition to this, the pension scheme must be rethought. There is no national system in the country, and not all jobs are covered by a pension. For example, the mass of over 300 million migrants has no coverage. For state industries and city residents, each province manages its own pension, health, unemployment and housing funds. Contributions come from individuals, businesses, government subsidies. The problem is that all these funds are now in deficit.

In order to support trade and industries, which have been affected by the economic crisis and the pandemic, the government has reduced pension contributions. Hence the suggestion: raise the retirement age from 60 to 65-66, as is the case in the USA. For once, the West is not the enemy to fight, but the model to follow!

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