Wednesday, July 17, 2013
The Chinese government recently enacted a law aimed at compelling adult children to visit their elderly parents.
The “Protection of the Rights and Interests of Elderly People” contains nine clauses laying out the duties of children to tend to the “spiritual needs of the elderly.” The listed duties include visiting parents at home “often,” occasionally sending them greetings, and a duty companies have to give employees enough time off for parental visits. The law stipulates no punishments for those who neglect their parents. However, on the day this law went into effect, a Wuxi court ordered a young couple to visit the wife’s elderly mother, who had sued the couple for neglect.
As a consequence of Chinese urbanization, the absence of children from the parents’ lives is a real issue, with many young people moving to the cities and leaving their parents behind in villages.
See Edward Wong, A Chinese Virtue Is Now the Law, The New York Times, July 2, 2013.