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Survey: Confidence in Pensions Low

China Youth Daily reported Monday on an online survey that said 57 percent of respondents had little confidence in the pension system and believed they need to save extra money for their retirement.

The one-month poll received 4,736 responses and was jointly conducted by the paper's social research center and news.sohu.com after pension reforms were announced by Tian Chengping, labor and social security minister, on October 26.

Less than 4 percent thought they could completely depend on their children after retirement, which used to be a predominant view.

About 35 percent said they felt sure of getting an adequate income after retirement, but 37 percent thought their quality of life would decrease dramatically.

The new reforms mean people's individual contributions to their pensions will fall from 11 to 8 percent of their salaries from next year, and employers' contributions, which go into a social fund, will increase from 20 to 30 percent of workers' salaries.

The high deficit of the current system is a cause of concern for many; former labor and social security minister, Zheng Silin, said last year it had reached 2,500 billion yuan (US$312.5 billion), almost one-third of GDP.

According to the World Bank in 2004, the deficit could be expected to reach 9,150 billion yuan (US$1,143.75 billion) by 2075 under the current system.

China Youth Daily said if a person's monthly salary is 5,000 yuan (US$620) and they make 15 years' contributions they could expect to receive about 1,000 yuan (US$120) per month after retirement.

But the average monthly salary of most Chinese people is much less than 5,000 yuan.

The paper quoted an earlier national survey of 1,693 people by Oriental Morning Post, which found that 39 percent said they would not worry about life after retirement if they had a deposit of 100,000 to 300,000 yuan (US$12,000 to 36,000), while 8.7 percent said it would take 500,000 yuan (US$60,000) to feel the same way.

Experts quoted by China Youth Daily said rebuilding people's confidence in the pension system was an urgent task.

The paper said that last year the World Bank suggested that raising the retirement age might be a way for the government to resolve the problem.

(China.org.cn by Wang Ke, December 8, 2005)

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