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New Chinese Law Requires Children to Visit Elderly Parents

CC Marc Veraart
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China’s one-child policy means many adults have no help in caring for elderly parents

In recent weeks there have been wording changes implemented in Chinese law – for the purpose of strongly “urging” adult children to visit and keep in touch with their elderly parents at the risk of being sued. With an increasingly aging population plus dramatically lower replacement rates, it’s really no surprise that such measures are necessary. In other words, the government are now applying strategies to deal with the consequences of their one-child policy.

Oh China, what are you doing?

Even if we were talking about another country, the situation would be just as disastrous. Think of a child that will experience nothing other than being an only child. This isn’t intrinsically bad in itself, but at the same time they’ll have no cousins, no aunties, no uncles. This child, at adulthood, has two parents and four grandparents to take care of. Pressure much? Oh, and then don’t forget to multiply that outcome by every kid in China.

If that’s not enough, let’s also add the fact that in Chinese culture, parents expect that their children will take care of them in their old age. The current generation may not be so keen on the idea, especially considering that such an individual upbringing makes the ideal breeding ground for “little emperors” – a generation of overprotected, selfish and more pessimistic kids (not to mention, future leaders of the country). To the point where elderly parents in China have started suing their children for emotional support, and courts have had to implement regular visiting strategies. What could be sadder than legally forcing your children to see you?

I’m sure this has been pointed out before, but China really should have thought this one-child policy stuff through. It makes me wonder – what problem of their own making will they have to fix next?

Originally published by MercatorNet on July 9th, 2013.

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