【明報專訊】The average life expectancy in mainland China's urban areas has exceeded 80 years old. However, different government agencies and businesses still adopt the mandatory retirement ages set in 1978, i.e. 60 for men, 50 for female workers and 55 for female government cadres. As the Chinese population is ageing, the birth rate has been declining year by year, and the National Social Security Fund has been increasingly unable to balance its books. The policy of increasing the retirement age was originally scheduled for the last five-year plan. In the 14th five-year plan just unveiled, it is specifically stated that the policy must be implemented within five years. Judging by the progress that has been made, however, it is concerning whether this will be possible.