New Chinese Law Requires Adults To Visit Aging Parents

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Have you phoned home lately?

If you live in China, it’s now against the law to ignore your mom and dad.

A new law requires adult Chinese children to visit or keep in touch with their elderly parents. Failing to do so could result in being sued, Yahoo reports.

While facing difficulty in caring for its aging population, Chinese law makers are hoping to raise awareness of the “right of elderly people to ask for emotional support,” says one of the legislators, Xiao Jinming, a law professor at Shandong University.

The new law says the children of parents older than 60 should ensure that their parents’ daily, financial, and spiritual needs are met. That being said, the law does not specify how often people must visit, or clarify penalties for those who do not uphold the law.

Although respect for the elderly is deeply engrained in Chinese society, three decades of market reforms have broken down China’s traditional extended family, and there are few affordable alternatives, such as retirement homes.

Wang Yi, 57, who lives alone in Shanghai, said the new law is “better than nothing.”

Her two sons work miles away in southern Guangdong province and she sees them only once a year at a family reunion.

“It is too little, for sure. I think twice a year would be good,” she said. “We Chinese people raise children to take care of us when we are old.”

Prior to this new legislation, several elderly parents had sued their children for emotional support, although most of the cases were settled.

What do you think of this new law? 

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