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Social Security

Under the planned economy, government took care of the pensions, medical services and other benefits of all civil servants, and staff and workers of enterprises and institutions. Anyone employed by a state enterprise or institution could expect life-long security, even if at a low level. As Chinese society ages, the number of retirees is increasing, some organizations having more pensioners than workers on their pay-roll, representing a very great burden. Since the 1990s, China has actively pursued reform of the old-age, unemployment and medical insurance systems. The State Council has promulgated the Regulations on Unemployment Insurance, the Interim Regulations on the Collection of Social Insurance Premium, and the Regulations on Guaranteeing Urban Residents' Minimum Standard of Living, providing legal guarantee for the implementation of social security system. Now a social security system integrating old-age, unemployment, medical insurance and minimum standard of living has taken preliminary shape, under socialized management, quite separated from enterprises and institutions.

-- Old-age Insurance. The coverage of basic old-age insurance has kept expanding from state- and collective-owned enterprises to enterprises of various types and institutions. The security rights and interests of employees of enterprises of non-public ownership are also guaranteed. At the end of 2004, 122.5 million staff and workers and 41.03 million retirees participated in the basic old-age insurance program. 

-- Medical Insurance. Basic medical insurance is one of the social insurance systems with widest spread, covering various enterprises and institutions, state organs and social organizations, in cities and towns. By the end of 2004, 124.04 million people had participated in basic medical insurance.

-- Unemployment Insurance. With its large population, China is under great unemployment pressure. To alleviate employment problems, since 1993 the government has operated a labor market policy, opening various channels for employment. The government has implemented a re-employment project for staff members and workers in state-owned enterprises laid off in recent years during industrial restructuring; in 2004 alone, the government allocated 10 billion yuan to re-employment projects, which helped 5.1 million laid-off people back into work. By the end of 2004, a total of 105.84 million people had participated in the unemployment insurance program, and there were 4.19 million people drawing unemployment benefit.

-- Guaranteed Minimum Standard of Living. A minimum standard of living system has been established in all cities and county towns, providing a basic guarantee for all residents whose families' per capita income is below the lowest local standard. In 2004, there were 22.05 million urban residents receiving such living standard support. In the countryside, the establishment of the system for a minimum standard of living has begun in many areas.

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