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Millions of Farmers Receive Pensions

More than 2 million Chinese farmers had received pensions from the government by the end of last year, with the total population joining the rural old-age insurance system up to 53.78 million, according to the Ministry of Labor and Social Security Thursday.

A report jointly issued by the ministry and the National Bureau of Statistics showed that the rural pension insurance fund reached 28.5 billion yuan (US$3.4 billion) last year.

China began to promote an old-age insurance system in some rural areas in the 1990s in accordance with the actual level of local socio-economic development.

Under the system, premiums are paid mainly by individual farmers, supplemented by collectively pooled subsidies and supported by government policies.

Participants can draw pensions monthly from their old-age insurance personal accounts after they reach the stipulated ages.

By the end of 2003, the system had been expanded to varying degrees in the rural areas of 1,870 counties, cities and districts.

In 2004, the Chinese Government began to experiment with a system rewarding households in certain rural areas that practiced family planning by having only one child or two girls.

According to the new system, each person in such couple will receive a minimum of 600 yuan (US$72.6) per year from the age of 60 until the end of his or her life. This reward is provided jointly by the central and local governments.

(Xinhua News Agency May 20, 2005)

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