China needs to adopt a package of measures, including postponing
the retirement age, to deal with the aging of the population, said
a renowned Chinese expert.
"The retirement age for men and women should be postponed to
63or 65 or even further to deal with a labor shortfall," said Hu
An'gang, director of the National Conditions Research Center of
Under Chinese law, a man retires at 60, women cadres at 55 and
women workers at 50.
China's Social Sciences Academic Press published a book, which
contains research reports by Hu An'gang and other leading Chinese
experts on the issue of aging population, last month.
It predicts that by the middle of this century, there will be
more than 400 million senior citizens over 60, or 30 percent of the
entire population. By then, every two workers will need to provide
for one senior citizen.
"One of the direct results of the aging society is a drop in the
labor force supply, which leads to an overall reshaping of
society," said Gu Baochang, professor of the population and
development center of prestigious Renmin University in Beijing.
In the book, the experts also recommend improving education to
enhance the skills of the workforce, which may partly offset the
influence of a labor force decrease, and improving the health
A report on senior citizens, released by a national work
committee in February this year, says that China entered the aging
society in 1999 when citizens aged over 60 exceeded 10 percent of
the total population for the first time. This was "too early" and
has left China ill-prepared.
Developed countries started to age after carrying out
modernization, and with per capita GDP of US$5,000 to 10,000.
By contrast, China has entered the aging society without having
fully modernized and its economy is still undeveloped, with per
capita GDP just over US$1,000. It therefore lacks the economic
muscle needed to tackle the aging issue.
(Xinhua News Agency September 21, 2006)