China: Retirees Protest Plan to Cut Health Benefits

    Photo: Reuters [via BBC]

    The Facts

    • Hundreds of Chinese retirees in Wuhan and the northeastern city of Dalian demonstrated for a second time on Wednesday to protest government cuts to their medical benefits. This comes weeks before the annual National People's Congress, which will result in the PRC's new leadership.

    • In both cities, the protesters sang "The Internationale," a communist anthem, while others reportedly chanted "down with the reactionary government!" Videos on social media showed protesters scuffling with security forces, but the footage has not been fully verified.

    The Spin

    Pro-China narrative

    Though no one likes when their benefits are being cut, China is in a tough situation socially and economically. In addition to the long-known fact that the population is rapidly aging, China's zero-COVID policy took a serious toll on the economy, especially on a local level. The reforms will give retirees additional benefits that will hopefully counteract the decrease in available monthly funds.

    Anti-China narrative

    While the sick and old are facing what amounts to austerity measures on their healthcare, party officials have access to generous medical treatments at public cost without having to pay for basic healthcare insurance. Retirees were already struggling before these cuts to their benefits, and now they will have to be even more frugal to survive.

    Establishment split



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