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Refining the Social Security System

By Qiu Ping Source: Updated: 2022-12-13

As mentioned in the Chinese classics, “there are some fixed principles in governing a state, among which benefiting the people should be the root.” Working for the wellbeing of the people is an embodiment of the CPC’s commitment to serving the public good and exercising power in the interests of the people.

Our Party has always put great emphasis on social security and the improvement of public wellbeing. Since the 18th National Congress of the CPC in 2012, the CPC Central Committee with Xi Jinping at its core has pursued a people-centered development approach, made top-level plans for the development of China’s social security system, and thereafter steered it onto a fast track.

So far, we have established unified basic pension programs for rural and urban residents, aligned pension programs for staff of government offices and public institutions with those for enterprises, and established a system of central regulation for enterprise employees’ basic old-age insurance funds. We have taken steps to unify the basic medical insurance programs for rural and non-working urban residents, fully implemented the critical illness insurance system for rural and urban residents, and established the National Healthcare Security Administration. We have worked to expand social security coverage in an effort to ensure access for all, reduced social insurance premiums, and transferred a portion of state capital into social security funds. We have also actively developed social welfare programs in areas such as elderly care, childcare, and care for people with disabilities.

Through these efforts, all members of the public, regardless of their gender, location, occupation, or whether they live in urban or rural areas, have been provided with institutional protection against risks such as old age, illness, unemployment, work-related injury, disability, and poverty.

In the past decade of the new era, we have launched the most extensive reform and attained the fastest development in our country’s social security system. At present, we have built the world’s largest social security system, with basic medical insurance that covers 95% of Chinese residents and basic old-age insurance that covers 1.04 billion people.

Since social security issues are of greatest concern to the people in their everyday life, we must make constant efforts in promoting high-quality development of our social security programs.

New requirements and a series of major plans were stated in the report to the 20th CPC National Congress as follows.

We will further improve the multi-tiered social security system that covers the entire population in urban and rural areas and see that it is fair, unified, reliable, well-regulated, and sustainable.

We will improve the unified national management system for basic old-age insurance funds and develop a multi-tiered and multi-pillar old-age insurance system. The statutory retirement age will be gradually raised. We will expand the coverage of social insurance programs, improve the mechanisms for financing and adjusting benefits for basic old-age insurance and basic medical insurance, and work toward provincial-level unified management of funds for basic medical insurance, unemployment insurance, and workers’ compensation.

We will promote the orderly linking up of medical insurance programs at different levels, improve major disease insurance and medical assistance schemes, and see that medical expenses are settled where they are incurred. We will institute an insurance system to support long-term care and vigorously develop commercial medical insurance.

We will move faster to improve the nationally unified public platform for social insurance services. Improvements will be made to the system whereby social security funds are kept safe through supervision and their value is maintained and increased over time. The multi-tiered and categorized social assistance system will be improved.

We will remain committed to the fundamental national policy of gender equality and protect the lawful rights and interests of women and children. For people with disabilities, we will improve the social security and service systems and promote all-around development of related programs.

Adhering to the principle that housing is for living in and not for speculation, we will move faster to build a housing system featuring multiple suppliers and various channels of support that encourages both housing rentals and purchases.