China endeavors to improve social security system 03-09-2004 17:05

The establishment of a sound social security system has emerged as one of the imperative tasks for the Chinese government. And the most challenging part of the mission is to include China's vast rural areas into the system.

China's Labor and Social Security Minister Zheng Silin said an all-encompassing social security system is already in place in China's urban areas. Up till now, more than 100 million urban residents are benefiting from state-subsidized pension plans, medical insurance and unemployment policies. But things are not so encouraging in the countryside.

Zhen Silin, minister of China's Ministry of Labor and Social Security, said, "Arable land remains the most reliable social security guarantee for most Chinese farmers. The central government plans to increase the aid for ultra-poor groups in the countryside, like widowed elders and people affected by natural disasters. In some more developed eastern coastal regions, social security system for farmers is already in the making. But it's impossible to include China's huge rural population into the system overnight."

The minister also said how to generate more job opportunities will remain one of the Chinese government's priorities for a long time to come. Every year, about 24 million people are waiting for a job offer. But on average, the country's job market can only bring good news to less than 10 million.

Zheng also said, "Effective policy guarantee is necessary to address the problem. We've been trying to improve the government's service to the jobless, including free training courses and better information sharing. In the long run, we plan to establish a mechanism to ensure that everyone knows where to get help while seeking job."

The Minister also urges government departments at all level to give more emphasis to the protection of migrant workers' rights. He stressed the nation's social security system won't be complete if it fails to provide help for these hard-working people.


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