Mortality rates in China down, not up
March 03,2017   By:Xinhua
BEIJING, March 3, 2017 -- Mortality rates in China are down, contrary to a recent Wall Street Journal report, leading Chinese experts said.
In "Why Chinese men are dying," dated Feb. 24, the Journal reported that "mortality rates among Chinese men aged 41 to 60 have increased by 12 percent" over the decade through 2013.
Upon closer inspection, however, the report's conclusion was based on incomplete data, casting doubt over the veracity of the story.
The Journal reported the "disheartening news from China," following the release of mortality data from the country's insurance regulator.
The China Life Insurance Mortality Table (2010-2013) was released this year, replacing the previous iteration that covered the 2000-2003 period, which was dated and lacked breadth.
The earlier table presented mortality rates in two insurance categories, non-annuity and annuity. The latest data set, however, presented rates in three categories, non-annuity I (mainly for term and whole life insurance), non-annuity II (mainly for endowment insurance) and annuity.
Herein lies the problem, the Journal report appeared to only reference data from non-annuity I.
At a glance, the mortality rate for men aged 50 who held non-annuity policies during the 2000-2003 period was 0.3570 percent.
For the latter period there are now two sets of data. The mortality rate for men aged 50 was 0.4249 percent in the non-annuity I category, and 0.2908 percent in the non-annuity II category.
Thus, in response to whether a 50-year-old Chinese man is more likely to die in 2013 than a decade ago, the answer would be yes and no -- yes for category I, and no for category II.
In its report, and specifically the accompanying chart, the Journal appeared to compare mortality rates from the new non-annuity I category to non-annuity data from 2003, thereby reaching its alarming conclusion, said Dr. Wang Qing, chief actuary of ABC Life Insurance.
"That is a clear misreading of the numbers," said Dr. Wang, a veteran actuary trained in the U.S.
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