In China, a new law makes it mandatory for children to visit their parents (over age 60), with a fine for those who don’t comply.
According to the law, children are required to visit their parents “frequently” and make sure their financial and spiritual needs are met.
The new law would be a major reform in safeguarding the rights of Chinese elderly. Coupled with an aging population and a one-child policy, the number of those over 60 is projected to increase. In 2011, some 185 million people were over 60. By 2050, a third of China’s population will be classed as elderly.Chinese tradition dictates that children have a duty to provide for their parents and grandparents. Many generations live together under one roof, with nursing homes a rarity.
Yet, with the increasing modernization of China, the family traditional structure is changing. Many young Chinese are moving away from their rural homes to study and work in the big cities, and live further and further away from their parents.
The law was initiated after reports by some parents that they were neglected by their children. While there is no specification of how often they need to visit, children are subjected to pay a monthly allowance to their parents if the children refuse to care for them.
With the new legislation, parents can even take their children to court, a harsh consequence that a woman from Wuxi City encountered. After a 77-year-old mother sued her child, the Chinese court ruled that the daughter must visit her mother every two months.
Proponents believe that the law will educate and provide family values of the importance for children to visit their parents. While the new law aims to protect the older growing population, there has been much controversy surrounding its adoption.
Critics of the law find it vague and argue that the state should not interfere in how one should take care of their parents. Since the new law came in place, websites offering "rental children" to visit parents on their behalf are popping up.
Do you think a state can force an emotional bond between a parent and child? What do you think of the new law? How often do you think you should visit your parents, or be visited by your children?
Share with us in the comments below your thoughts.