'Give up your pensions for the country': Chinese officials step in after elderly man's viral post
Viral posting on official website that suggested retired citizens should stop collecting money from the state dismissed by officials
A Chinese senior citizen who called for retired people to be forced to stop collecting their pensions for the sake of the country has been told his suggestion was illegal and impractical, according to media reports.
Officials intervened in the debate after an online posting by a man who claimed to be studying at a university for the elderly in Yichun, a city in the eastern province of Jiangxi, went viral earlier this month.
A web user with the nickname Zhang Zhang wrote in a post on the official website of the local social security bureau on June 14: “We ought to prioritise the interests of our country and sacrifice ourselves by voluntarily giving up our pensions.
“Then we could put more money in the places where it is needed, such as the Red Cross Society of China.”
He said the government should start accepting applications from senior citizens who wanted to give up their pensions next year, but went on to argue that from 2020 onwards the authorities should start forcing people to do so by confiscating property or even “kicking them out of the country”.
After the post went viral, the city’s social security bureau responded last week by saying the suggestion was against the country’s Social Insurance Law, The Beijing News reported on Wednesday.
“Citizens certainly have the right to give up their pension. You wouldn’t be penalised if you don’t collect the pension, but it doesn’t mean you have the right to force others to do so,” Lu Quan, an associate professor from the school of labour and human resources at Renmin University of China and the leading expert in China’s pension system, told the newspaper.
“Our government has an obligation to provide pensions for the elderly. It’s legally groundless to penalise those who refuse to stop collecting their pensions.”