News / Asia

New Chinese Law Requires Children to Visit Aging Parents

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).
VOA News
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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Comment Sorting
by: Urb from: US
July 06, 2013 7:09 AM
What if your parents are raging, alcoholic control freaks? Tough cookies, I guess -- suck it up!

by: chris gao from: China Mainland
July 03, 2013 2:28 AM
most of the chinese young people working in society now like to and willing to care more of their parents. but the social pressure, including: work opportunities,salaries, less rest times .etc stop us to care them.. especially the housing price.... if u want ur parents to live togeter with u, u will beed a bigger house. 70 square will be OK, and that will cost 147540USdollars in China , meanwhile, our average salary is only 16000 us dollars one yr. ... and plus one family one child...

by: iamhe from: New Haven
July 02, 2013 12:57 PM
Government is one humanity's social systems, requiring a social conscience, and a corresponding sense of social responsibility, I am happy that China's Central Government did this for all the world to see.

Here in America we have the corporate for-profit solution for our aging parents..... and laws that push aging parents into corporate care....

Our house is committed to caring for our aging family members here at home come hell or high water.

by: Larry from: US
July 02, 2013 11:10 AM
In other words; if you try that western stuff... of dumping your parents on the state... we can throw you in jail.

by: Anonymous
July 02, 2013 10:55 AM
Is it possible that the neglected, aging parents don't have daughters to care about them because they altered nature when allowed only one child and often chose the male gender based on misperceptions about what is important in life.

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