The Union Recorder

Top Stories

July 1, 2013

Law requires Chinese to visit their aging parents

BEIJING —

Mothers and fathers aren't the only ones urging adult children to visit their parents. China's lawbooks are now issuing the same imperative.

New wording in the law requiring people to visit or keep in touch with their elderly parents or risk being sued came into force Monday, as China faces increasing difficulty in caring for its aging population.

The amended law does little to change the status quo, however, because elderly parents in China already have been suing their adult children for emotional support and the new wording does not specify how often people must visit or clarify penalties for those who do not.

It is primarily aimed at raising awareness of the issue, said one of the drafters, Xiao Jinming, a law professor at Shandong University. "It is mainly to stress the right of elderly people to ask for emotional support ... we want to emphasize there is such a need," he said.

Cleaning lady Wang Yi, 57, who lives alone in Shanghai, said the new law is "better than nothing." Her two sons work several hundred kilometers (miles) away in southern Guangdong province and she sees them only at an annual 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."

China's legislature amended the law in December following frequent reports of elderly parents neglected by their children. It says offspring of parents older than 60 should see that their daily, financial and spiritual needs are met.

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

Xiao said even before the Law of Protection of Rights and Interests of the Aged was amended, there were several cases of elderly parents suing their children for emotional support. Court officials generally settle such cases by working out an arrangement for sons or daughters to agree to visit more frequently. Typically, no money is involved.

The number of people aged 60 and above in China is expected to jump from the current 185 million to 487 million, or 35 percent of the population, by 2053, according to figures from the China National Committee On Aging. The expanding ratio is due both an increase in life expectancy — from 41 to 73 over five decades — and by family planning policies that limit most urban families to a single child.

Rapid aging poses serious threats to the country's social and economic stability, as the burden of supporting the growing number of elderly passes to a proportionately shrinking working population and the social safety net remains weak.

Zhang Ye, a 36-year-old university lecturer from eastern Jiangsu Province, said the amended law was "unreasonable" and put too much pressure on people who migrate away from home in search of work or independence.

"For young people who are abroad or work really far away from their parents, it is just too hard and too expensive to visit their parents," she said. "I often go to visit my parents and call them ... (but) if a young person doesn't want to, I doubt such a law will work."

Click here to subscribe to The Union-Recorder print edition. http://tinyurl.com/6qdm4oj

Click here to subscribe to The Union-Recorder e-edition. http://unionrecorder.cnhi.newsmemory.com/

 

1
Text Only
Top Stories
Poll
AP Video
US Ready to Slap New Sanctions on Russia Kerry: Not Worried About Israeli Criticism Boater Rescued From Edge of Kentucky Dam Girl Struck by Plane on Florida Beach Dies Rodents Rampant in Gardens Around Louvre House to Vote on Slimmed-down Bill for Border Looming Demand Could Undercut Flight Safety Raw: 2 Shells Hit Fuel Tank at Gaza Power Plant Raw: Massive Explosions From Airstrikes in Gaza Giant Ketchup Bottle Water Tower Up for Sale Easier Nuclear Construction Promises Fall Short Kerry: Humanitarian Cease-fire Efforts Continue Raw: Corruption Trial Begins for Former Va Gov. The Carbon Trap: US Exports Global Warming Traditional African Dishes Teach Healthy Eating
Facebook
Twitter Updates
Follow us on twitter
Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.
Stocks
NDN Video
Weird 'Wakudoki' Dance Launches Promotional Competition Chris Pratt Adorably Surprises Kids at a 'Guardians of the Galaxy' Screening Chapter Two: Designing for Naomi Watts NOW TRENDING: Peyton Manning dancing at practice "The Bachelorette" Makes Her Decision Thieves pick the wrong gas station to rob Golden Sisters on '50 Shades' trailer: 'Look At That Chest!' Staten Island Man's Emotional Dunk Over NYPD Car - @TheBuzzeronFOX GMA: Dog passes out from excitment to see owner Baseball Hall of Famers Inducted 'Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1' Sneak Peek Florida Keys Webcam Captures Turtles Hatching Morgan Freeman Sucks Down Helium on 'Tonight Show' Robin Wright Can Dance! (WATCH) She's Back! See Paris Hilton's New Carl's Jr. Ad Big Weekend For Atlanta Braves In Cooperstown - @TheBuzzeronFox Chapter Two: Becoming a first-time director What's Got Jack Black Freaking Out at Comic-Con? Doctors Remove 232 Teeth From Teen's Mouth Bradley Cooper Explains His Voice in 'Guardians of the Galaxy'