Taiwan people protest against pension reforms

Updated 2017-04-20 10:30:49 Xinhua

Hundreds of people in Taiwan joined a march to protest against proposed pension reforms on Tuesday and Wednesday.

Most of the protestors are retired military personnel, public servants and teachers, who are expected to see their pension benefits greatly shrink if the proposal is approved.

They chanted slogans such as "Fake reform" and "Administrators are incapable" while marching around the building of the legislative body at around 3 p.m. Tuesday. Their demonstration continued until Wednesday afternoon following an overnight sleepover protest.

The pension reforms were formally discussed by Taiwan authorities when the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) took office in May 2016. The plans delay the age at which a full pension can be drawn from 60 until 65 and gradually increase the insurance premium by about 6 percent.

The ending of pension benefits for military personnel, public servants and teachers is also under consideration, activating strong opposition from the three groups.

A committee meeting to review the proposed reform bills was scheduled on Wednesday, leading to a new round of protests from Tuesday.

About 2,000 police officers were mobilized and barricades erected around the legislature building.

"The DPP knew nothing. They did not hear from experts but only invited some irrelevant people to join the meeting. We want justice and a fair and open discussion, even if we must pay back all our pension. But the way they are doing it now is unacceptable," a retired primary school teacher, surnamed Lee, told Xinhua.

Harry Lee, president of the civil servants association in Taiwan, said the DPP administration deliberately created clashes between generations and people from different occupations, causing alienation between the young and the old, ordinary workers and military personnel, public servants and teachers, which is "totally absurd."

"It's not that the pensions of military staff, public servants and teachers are too high, but the amount of money workers get is too low. It is wicked political manipulation that the administrators attribute the financial woes to these people rather than reflecting on their inability to administer and lift the economy," he said.

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