City in He­bei in­ves­ti­gat­ing early re­tire­ments of 62 of­fi­cials

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - NATION - By ZHENG JINRAN in Shi­ji­azhuang zhengjin­ran@chi­

Cangzhou, He­bei prov­ince, is in­ves­ti­gat­ing a case in which 62 gov­ern­ment of­fi­cials were forced to take early re­tire­ment last month.

The re­tire­ments in Huanghua, a county-level city un­der Cangzhou, have been sus­pended, ac­cord­ing to the Cangzhou gov­ern­ment.

Liu Jian­jun, deputy di­rec­tor of the sta­tis­tics bureau in Huanghua, said he was sum­moned to at­tend a meet­ing held by the city gov­ern­ment on Nov 15, where he was re­quired to sign a doc­u­ment say­ing he was will­ing to step down from his cur­rent po­si­tion.

“I never thought my re­tire­ment would come so sud­denly,” he said, adding that, by law, he still has five years be­fore reach­ing re­tire­ment age. Another 61 gov­ern­ment of­fi­cials in lead po­si­tions of bu­reaus and de­part­ments were given sim­i­lar doc­u­ments by the Huanghua gov­ern­ment.

Liu said he signed as re­quired, as he un­der­stood he had no chance for fur­ther pro­mo­tion. “We should step down to make room for young peo­ple,” he said. The gov­ern­ment of Huanghua con­firmed it asked the of­fi­cials, all aged above 52, to step down.

The cur­rent reg­u­la­tion on civil ser­vants al­lows men aged 60 and women aged 55 to take re­tire­ment.

Af­ter the early re­tire­ments were re­ported by lo­cal me­dia on Mon­day, the Cangzhou city gov­ern­ment sus­pended them im­me­di­ately and launched an in­ves­ti­ga­tion.

For the time be­ing, the 62 of­fi­cials have been asked to go back to work, but many have not yet re­turned.

“It has been a com­mon prac­tice for years in cities and coun­ties to have se­nior of­fi­cials make room for young of­fi­cials af­ter they reach their 50s,” said Zhang Cheng­cong, deputy di­rec­tor of the Eco­nomic Re­search Center of He­bei Nor­mal Univer­sity.

The num­bers of lead po­si­tions in gov­ern­ment are lim­ited, he said. “With this move, the gov­ern­ment can keep the lead team younger, with more courage and en­ergy.

“Some of­fi­cials don’t want to step down early be­cause they do not want to give up the priv­i­leges they get from their po­si­tions,” he said.

Al­though gov­ern­ments are re­search­ing post­pon­ing the re­tire­ment age, many lo­cal gov­ern­ments, es­pe­cially at the grass­roots level, still con­tinue the prac­tice of early re­tire­ment for se­nior of­fi­cials, he said, cit­ing his re­search.

“The sys­tem of civil ser­vants is quite dif­fer­ent from the work sys­tem in com­pa­nies, so it’s a big chal­lenge for gov­ern­ments to ex­tend the work­ing pe­riod for of­fi­cials,” he said.

Wang Ge con­trib­uted to this story.

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