China should raise retirement age

BEIJING, Dec. 10 (Xinhua) -- Raising the retirement age in progressive steps is in line with China's labor market realities and should be prioritized, an official said Tuesday.

Hu Xiaoyi, deputy head of the Human Resources and Social Security Ministry, told Xinhua in an interview that considering China's current development stage and some emerging problems, raising the retirement age must go on the government agenda.

The retirement age in China is 60 for men, 55 or 50 for women, according to Chinese regulations, some of which have been in effect since the 1950s. Back then, life expectancy was only around 40 years, so the rules made sense, Hu said.

"Public health has greatly improved and life expectancy is now 74 years. Average actual retiring age for both male and female workers of 54 is a little low," Hu said.

Low retirement age is not good for the ambitions of young and middle-aged people, nor is it good to continuously increase old-age pensions, he said.