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New Chinese Law Requires Children to Visit Aging Parents

  • VOA News

A group of elderly men take a rest on their wheelchairs at a park in Beijing, (File photo).

A group of elderly men take a rest on their wheelchairs at a park in Beijing, (File photo).

A controversial new law in China threatens to punish adult children who do not regularly visit their elderly parents.

The law that went into force Monday requires family members to "often" visit relatives over 60 years old, in addition to caring for their "psychological needs."

It does not specify how often visits must take place and does not say what punishment will be given to those who who break the law.

But in the first ruling under the new law Monday, a Chinese court ordered a woman and her husband to visit her 77-year-old mother at least once every two months and on holidays, or face possible fines and detention.

The new law comes amid increasing reports of elderly parents being neglected or mistreated by their children in China. In recent decades, China's rapid development has challenged its typically close traditional extended family unit.

The problem has only grown worse as China's population continues to rapidly age. The United Nations says 30 percent of Chinese will be over 60 years old by 2050 - a rate much higher than the worldwide average of 20 percent.

But many Chinese have criticized the legislation, saying it will be hard to enforce and is unreasonable for many who have moved away from their homes looking for work.


Some information for this report was provided by AP and AFP.

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