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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Oct 13, 2013 3:03PM
oh i know  it can be  but that illegal too !!!!!!!! disinheritance is jail time in my country!!!!!!!!!!!... .
Dec 31, 2012 11:24AM
For all the "Baby Boomers' Complaining about their kids not visiting. You need to remember you reap what you sew. Baby Boomers back in the 80's were so self absorbed they didn't have time to raise kids, and now they expect these same kids 30 years later to take care of them... Please.. you people are pathetic. You deserve to live alone. 
Dec 29, 2012 4:46PM

I guess if my Grandmother had looked and acted like that old Prune on the front page, we wouldn't have visited either....But we are Great Grandparents now, so we are careful of what we say and do..

Unless someone pisses us off....

But I think we raised our offspring with love and respect....And that makes a difference.

Dec 29, 2012 10:48AM
Wonder if the Chinese communist government allows kids to visit the hundreds of thousands of parents, relatives and friends that are locked up in Chinese labor camps without a trial.
Dec 29, 2012 2:53AM

Sorry but you are very wrong.  I live part of the year in Mexico and part in the U.S.   I pay for my insurance and you pay also through the nose.    You are paying for nobody's insurance in anyother country.   Your medical costs are high because you have no competition.   No doctors or hospitals  are in competition with anyone.    A MRI in the U.S. costs $1,500.00.  In Japan for the same MRI, the cost is $75.00 and the Japanese companies make money.    I had a TARP operation in Mexico and it cost me $1,500.00.  In the U.S., the cost was $30,000.00.   A lady was stung by a bark scorpion in Arizona and she was charged $30,000.00 for the shots.  The anti-venom had to be imported from Mexico.  In Mexico, it would have cost her $200.00.   You have a bunch of thieves running your medical programs.   As far as all that help Americans do, most of it is to buy influence.  Sorry I worked with AID projects for years and it is a totel sham.   Build a grain spot in Nigeria to unload grain for American Grain companies.   The Nigerians did not eat bread until convinced to do so by Americans.   Civilized people eat bread and not yams.    That some Americans help there parents yes, but that is not common anymore.   The problem is you have traveled nowhere and so know nothing about how the rest of the world lives.   

Dec 28, 2012 11:18PM
It's sad that we have millions of people in the USA who would see no problem with our federal gov implementing a similar law here.
Dec 28, 2012 10:35PM
my son will always call me...when he needs something
Dec 28, 2012 9:59PM

..then there's my old man who inherited $4 millon dollars..and BLEW it all inside 6 years despite having a $65k/yr guaranteed gov't pension for life


..China can F-ing sue me


..I ain't going to see HIM in the old folks home

Dec 28, 2012 9:01PM

Good for the Chinese, hopefully, they have exempted offsprings of selfish self centered, and cruel parents. 




Dec 28, 2012 8:56PM

An aging parent's treatment is always earned.

Dec 28, 2012 8:56PM
That would be one way to reduce the government's expense to care for their elderly and will allow the party officials can continue to work on becoming billionaires 
Dec 28, 2012 8:34PM
I do not want to sound mean here, but what goes around comes around, I bet these chinese parents wished they did not kill or give away  their baby daughters, even in America it usually is the daughter(s) that do the care giving. 30 million more men than women......Hi son so glad I had a son...where are you going?...when are you coming back? can you change my diaper?  Probably a big reason some of this is happening.
Dec 28, 2012 8:29PM
China lawmakers have more sense than American lawmaking idiots.  Here, they want you to go to a nursing home so they can take everything you've worked for all your life.  I admire China!  But, even so, I would not want to live with my daughter.  The really nice thing would be to live with your wife  until very old age, enjoy  her every minute and then die together.  May sound horrible, but would be nice to go into Heaven together.  It does happen this way sometimes. Car wrecks, even just the loss of one brings about the death of the other.
Dec 28, 2012 8:12PM
Business generated from this law??  For those who cannot afford the trip or "hate" their parents.  Why not just use internet or phone (will that be documented--police), but the whole idea is outrageous .  I think this well-meaning law is reflective of China's "immaturity", backwardness and violation of indvidual rights--still. 
Dec 28, 2012 7:52PM
I live in China and see how selfish a few younger people can be here. Not all selfish younger people are from one child families. They take their elderly relatives for every rmb they have and then don't take care of them.  The older generation saved which I don't see the young one's doing.  However, many younger people have to work in different cities to make a living so travelling to visit their parents could be difficult as I know if you're not on a bullet train line or have direct bus service.  Also, they don't get vacation time like in many other countries where you choose when you take off and not be off with 1.3 billion other people which makes travelling by public transportation difficult.  I think this law may just make things worse as who would want to visit a parent who has sued them.    
Dec 28, 2012 7:44PM
Let's get real here.  Not everyone had a loving and supportive upbringing.  My parents gave me NOTHING but food, clothing, and a roof over my head.  I was a farm kid and was worked like a full-grown man and beaten like a dog from the time I was a small child.  I left home at 17 and have taken care of myself ever since.  My parents are now both in a nursing home 700 miles away from me.  It's hard to feel sympathy for your parents when you were never anything to them but free farm labor and a punching bag.  Do I ever visit them?  Rarely.  Do I respect them?  No.  Will I feel bad when the die?  No, just relieved that I turned out to be completely different than them, despite their sad attempt at parenting. 
Dec 28, 2012 7:42PM
Hmm Id love to visit my parents if only gas prices and plane tickets werent so much money.... 
Dec 28, 2012 7:38PM

Elder abuse is one of thef fastest growing crimes in America. Good luck finding anyone to help an elderly person that is dying and in hospice care in America. It is almost as if the authorities think why bother they are going to die anyhow. My Mother was the victim of Elder Abuse by her Grandson. Horrible experience to witness and not be able to do anything about. Hospice was as crooked as the Grandson. Adult protective services did nothing. This is going on more often than you think. The elderly are being exploited not only for their social security checks but also for the drugs that are prescribed when they are dying in hospice care. Drugs like Oxycotin. These criminals will do anything to get their hands on it.

Glad to see a country holding the families accountable.

Dec 28, 2012 7:28PM
Sorry...I'm one of those kids that would rather not visit their parents, and I'm 50!  Mom is a bitter old lady who has nothing good to say about anything or anybody.  She argues over everything from politics to where to set the trash can in the street for the weekly pick up.  And let's not mention the grand kids because with my rotten parenting skills, they're nothing but a waste of life in her eyes. I'm there when I'm needed, but to go out of my way and visit because I want to...never.
Dec 28, 2012 7:15PM

 Its not always pleasant and your not always welcome. Visiting my mother in the nursing home always caused her to cuss me back to the day I was born. I would always leave after 5 minutes rather than take any more abuse.She had a frequently foul temper all her life. I'm sure there are a lot of people who are glad their parents are out of their life...... 

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