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240 Mln Chinese Covered by Social Pension System

A latest survey on China's social pensions showed that more than 240 million Chinese have been covered by the social pension system, with over 187 million urban workers.

By the end of 2006, the People's Daily reported Wednesday, about 187.66 million urban workers had joined the pension system, which accounted for 76 percent of the working population.

Meanwhile, only 53.74 million rural people were within the pension web. The number was even a little smaller than that the country had in 2002, the newspaper said.

Governmental employees, however, are not necessary to join the social pension system. The roughly 35 million people, according to China Statistics Yearbook 2004, working for the government or government-affiliated institutions are generally paid by the government after their retirement.

In 2006, the government asked to increase average monthly pension for retirees from enterprises to 815 yuan (US$109), from the monthly sum of 413 yuan in 1998.

According to the current Chinese pension system, both companies and individual workers are obliged to pay for pension funds. In rural areas which cover three quarters of the 1.3 billion Chinese population, sources for pension funds are more complicated. Part of the pension pool is from policy-related compensations for farmers, part paid by rural companies, and the rest paid by farmers themselves.

The survey also showed that the nationwide incoming funds for pension in 2006 were 631 billion yuan, and the pension payments in the same year were 489.7 billion yuan. The accumulated pension funds by the end of 2006 were 548.9 billion yuan.

Labor and social security authorities in localities are mandated to oversee the pension funds. The National Audit Office (NAO) has audited collection, management and use of the pension funds and found some problems. The Ministry of Labor and Social Security said 98.5 percent of the problems investigated by the NAO were corrected.

(Xinhua News Agency December 6, 2007)

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