As China’s economy continues to decline and youth unemployment hits record highs, the Chinese Communist Party is pushing the elderly to work. Many netizens are not happy about this. Some observers believe this is because the CCP’s finances are in crisis and it wants to avoid pay out pensions.
People are concerned when the CCP pushes the elderly to work
China’s Tencent news site reported on August 25 that, on the August 24, the China Elderly Talent Network website, organized by the China Association of Elderly, was officially launched. According to the report, the website will build a database on the elderly and an information service platform for the elderly, in order to promote the development of elderly human resources.
According to Newbillion, there are currently more than 1,000 jobs posted on the China Elderly Talent Network. All positions are Beijing-based, including nursing home director, sales for the elderly, social work, nurses serving the elderly. Salary ranges from 3,000 yuan to 30,000 yuan equivalent to $437 to $4,374.
Sina reported on August 25 that the wait staff recruitment notice for McDonald’s showed that a McDonald’s restaurant in Beijing recruited retirees as waiters. The age requirement for women was 50 years or older and men over 60. They had to produce a retirement certificate to work 4 to 5 days a week, 4 to 8 hours a day, and the monthly salary is from 1,800 yuan to 3,500 yuan ($262- $510).
The Epoch Times reported on August 26 that on the homepage of the China Elderly Talented Network, the recruitment notice of the Beijing Huimeng International Cultural Communication Company posted manager positions in departments such as administration, human resources, and sales with monthly salaries ranging from 5,000 to 9,000 yuan ($729 to about $1,300).
According to Tencent newspaper on August 26, the China Development Report 2020: Development Trends and Policies of China’s Aging Population mentioned that since entering an aging society in 2000, China’s population has aged dramatically. By 2050, China’s population age will peak with people over 65 making up 27.9% of the total population.
“The working-age population is decreasing and the demand for human resources is constantly increasing,”,said by Li Wei, director of the China Association of Elderly.
According to statistics from the National Bureau of Statistics of China, by 2021, China’s population aged 60 and over reached more than 267 million, accounting for 18.9% of the total population. And those aged 65 and over is 200.56 million people, accounting for 14.2%.
The Epoch Times collected comments from netizens on Weibo expressing their discontent of the campaign promoting the elderly returning to work:
One person said that younger people aged 35 were already having difficulty find ing a job, we shouldn’t be making it harder for them.
Another person thought that people over 65 should be able to enjoy life. and now because there is no money left to pay pensions you send the elderly back to work?
Someone sarcastically said: “First things first, stop giving pensioners their pensions. This will help the government on the one hand, make the elderly realize they can no longer rely on pensions. While on the other hand, they try to cling to their own jobs as it is their only livelihood.”
Because of all the questions and comments on the topic, China’s official media “Beijing Youth Daily published an article on August 26 explaining, “If the main occupations for the elderly are different from the young, they will complement each other.” Continuing on this theme, the article continued, “Along with the increase in the income for the elderly, increased consumption will also lead to new consumption needs and jobs.” According to the article, in a diverse working environment, there is no such thing as the elderly “robbing rice bowls” from the younger generation.
Youth unemployment hits record high, official data still lacking
The Sohu newspaper reported that the economic data released in July by the State Council Information Office indicated the drop in many important indicators across the country, and the youth unemployment rate rose to 19.9%, hitting a new record high.
Huang Jin Qiu, a senior communications officer, told The Epoch Times on August 26 that the CCP’s official unemployment rate statistics are fake.
According to his explanation, the unemployment data has not yet included these two groups: 1. unemployed peasants making up a large percentage and 2. people either working less than 1 year or having paid social insurance for less than 1 year. Graduates who are still unemployed, or still uninsured, are also not covered by the statistics.
Huang Jin Qiu said, “The third point is very funny. If you quit your job, you won’t be counted as unemployed. I have experienced it myself. So I think if you add the number of unemployed people in the above three cases, the unemployment rate could exceed 30%, maybe even 40%.”
Expert: Chinese authorities are abdicating responsibility for raising the elderly during the financial crisis
Feng Chongyi, an expert on China affairs and a professor at the Sidney University of Technology, told The Epoch Times on August 26 that the Chinese Communist Party has been facing a nationwide financial, crisis which explained the failure to pay out pensions in many localities leading to the government’s decision to let the people fend for themselves.
Feng said, “Young people are jobless, the unemployment rate is remarkably high, still the government urges the elderly to go back to work, they (the government) are just abandoning their responsibilities. There are too many elderly people struggling to survive, and the government allows them earn their own livelihood because they only take care of themselves, that’s the truth.”
China’s Sina Finance newspaper published an article on August 10. Public finances of 31 provinces in China were in deficit in the first half of the year. Many localities said that the salaries of public employees have been cut.
Wu Zuolai, a scholar living in the United States, told The Epoch Times on August 26 that the zero-COVID policy’s destructive impact on urban society was one of the official reasons behind the campaign that urges the elderly to return to work. A large number of people from rural ares coming to work in cities can’t wait anymore resulting in the short supply of human resources. This is why the elderly, are the answer to the short supply of cities’ human resources. The second reason is a serious shortage of pension funds. Much of it has been misappropriated, and the government can no longer pay people their due pensions, so the elderly are encouraged to work to relieve pressure on the CCP.
China’s social security pension fund ran into a huge deficit a few years ago. According to NetEase, last year, the number one pillar of the basic pension was 700 billion yuan ($102.06 billion) short. The China Insurance Association’s 2020 report said that in the next 10 years, the national pension deficit is expected to be 8 trillion to 10 trillion yuan ($1.17 trillion to $1.46 trillion).
Huang said that due to the previous birth planning policy of the CCP, a large number of couples only have one child. If the child dies, only the elderly couple remains, but the government is not willing to take full responsibility for the elderly. Plus, pensions are always in deficit, even misappropriated, so the CCP wants the elderly to go back to work.
Wu Zuolai believes that the CCP cannot solve the fundamental problem: “The Chinese government is currently trying to solve the severe economic and financial crisis. They also demand old people buy new houses, and ask civil servants to raise funds to support the Chinese government’s real estate market. These are all tricks to basically keep the Chinese government alive.”
However, Huang, who has started his career in Shanghai, said that many young people are the only children, spoiled and lacking skills. They rely on their parents’ money to go to school, and at school they play games until they graduate. Originally not properly taught at home, after going to school, they were brainwashed by the CCP and trained to be pro-CCP social commentators or junior Redguard forces, this type of person accounts for a very high percentage. However, hiring elderly people in their 60s who are in good health can save money, as these people have the experience, skills and tolerance, good attitude, plus they don’t demand a high salary. Therefore, they will be more welcome than young people with incompetence and bad attitude.