Visit your parents -- or get sued by them

China cracks down on adult children who may be neglecting or possibly abusing their elderly parents.

By Kim Peterson Dec 28, 2012 1:06PM
Senior woman on wheelchair looking out of window with blinds -- Design Pics, Don Hammond, Design Pics, Getty ImagesIt's always good to visit Mom and Dad. In China, it's now a law.

The national legislature there is now requiring that adult children visit their parents often. Otherwise, elderly parents who feel ignored can sue their kids. Wow, dinner conversations must be pretty awkward in that scenario.

The law is partly a reflection of a cultural change in parts of the developing country. The traditional extended family in China is fading, according to the Associated Press. Historically in many Asian cultures, aging parents and grandparents live with a child or other family member. Sending a parent to a nursing home was just not acceptable -- nor was it affordable for many families.

But that's changing, particularly as China's elderly population rapidly expands. Lately, the Chinese government has seen a growing number of reports of elder abuse. State media carried the story of one son in the well-to-do province of Jiangsu who reportedly forced his elderly mother to live in a pig pen for two years, according to the AP.

Elder-abuse cases in Hong Kong have risen 15% in the last two years, the South China Morning Post reported earlier this year. "Because of Chinese culture, elderly people are reluctant to reveal the disgraceful affairs of their families," the director of one advocacy group, Against Elderly Abuse, told the newspaper.

The new law doesn't say how often children must visit their parents -- and there may not be enough grounds here for any resulting lawsuit. But China now has nearly 167 million people over age 60, the BBC reports. While the law is partially intended to sustain the family unity that may be starting to fray in China, it's also an attempt to ensure that the oldest and weakest members of society are cared for.

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Dec 28, 2012 4:22PM
I have a step child living off of us (an occupier). I have another one that does not pay back what he borrows. My child does not come around. Guess who is not going to get!!!!
Dec 28, 2012 3:35PM

I'd like to see some sort of opt out for children who were abused by their parents. Forcing them to not only provide for them if necessary, but to actually visit them, must be he** and makes it impossible to move on and heal from your past.

Dec 28, 2012 3:14PM

OK. I.m not trivializing the state of the senior citizens, but this article is atrocious. It bounces from a law requiring adult children to visit their parents; to an increase in the abuse/neglect of the elderly; back to the law requiring visitation - as if, somehow, those issues are related.


If there is a correlation, perhaps the senior citizens don't want their children around.


EDIT: Oh, and I can just visualize the think-tank  of lawyers that come up with this:

"Hey, I need a bigger boat."

Yea, me too."

"Who can we sue?"

"Hey, there are a lot of senior citizens in nursing homes; let's sue their kids for not visiting them."

"Great idea! AND lets throw in the term 'enough' so that no matter how often they do visit - we'll say it's NOT 'enough'".



Dec 28, 2012 3:11PM
please dont let obama see this, he will say it was in the healthcare bill and mandate us to  do this also. however at least visiting our mom and dad is a good thing  unlike the rest of the mandates in the tax  oh i mean social control law
Dec 28, 2012 2:51PM
May you live long but never need taking take of.
Dec 28, 2012 2:50PM
Hmmmmmm, wondering if I should forward this to our kids ??
Dec 28, 2012 2:34PM
Sad situation. I took care of my mother for nearly seven years before she died and it ruined my health, but no one deserves to live in a pig pen. Disgraceful. I have read about this cultural change before and it did used to be the parents were taken care of by their children but not so much anymore. Maybe we need a law like that here?
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