Why 59-Year-Old Officials Are Being Charged with Corruption in China

Could paying pension funds be the reason behind 59 year old officials being charged with corruption in China? (Mathias Apitz/Flickr)
Could paying pension funds be the reason behind 59 year old officials being charged with corruption in China? (Mathias Apitz/Flickr)

In China, the mandatory retirement age is 60 for men and 55 for women.

According to the official analysis of corruption in China, the cases of Chinese officials found guilty of corruption charges at the age of 59 have been quite serious. They tend to be well-educated—the majority of them are top level officials in the government.

Among arrested officials, 63.9 percent are on charges of bribery, 9.7 percent abuse of power, 5.6 percent corruption, 5.6 percent embezzlement, and 4.2 percent have huge assets from unidentified sources.

One thing stands out and that is corrupt officials are being accused of committing multiple crimes; including bribery, dereliction of duty, and corruption. Corruption is prevalent.

The other factor that could cause this age 59 phenomenon is that the government is simply catching these old guys out just before they retire as a way to avoid paying out pensions. Corruption runs deep throughout the system, but they may be going for the ready-to-retire officials.

Pension funding is a massive problem in China, where government workers can get as much as 95 percent of their income as a pension, and the number of retirees will continue to rapidly rise over the next few decades.

Online comments from the legal profession:

Dr. Xie Jiaye, President of the US-China Cultural Exchange Association of Science and Technology: “The root cause of corruption stems from an imperfect system,” Free Asia Radio reported on Feb. 24.

Xie concluded that three elements are needed for corruption to rise: “Excessive concentration of power, a lack of transparency in the system, and a lack of independence in the judiciary branch.”

Li Jing, an attorney from Beijing, commented: “Corruption has little to do with age or education. It’s due to being an atheist and having a lack of reverence for God— one dares to do anything.”

Comments from netizens in China:

“When you are 59, the train ride is about to end. If you don’t grab what you can you won’t have another chance. This is a matter of living without a belief and moral bottom line, bringing forth the phenomenon of age 59.”

“If you are not corrupt, you have no money to bribe your superiors, and you will stay behind forever.”

“People who do not meet the basic requirements for an average human being become our leaders—that is a serious matter.”

“Age has nothing to do with corruption. Whether you are a top dog or a small fry, if you do something wrong, you’ll have to pay sooner or later.”

“Corruption has become prevalent due to our system.”


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