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 7:02PM
yes  hello...makes  scence!!!!!!!!!.     the  thing is i am a  disabled woman   and they are elderly for a  long time i felt myself a  burden and  as they got older they and i were drawn apart and  now its hard for me to get ther  because i  hate the  bus ride  but i've had sisters made it  imparitive that i  stay away from their kids and now they rubbed me  the  wrong way with the folks and how they treat them  what should i do?????????
Dec 28, 2012 6:50PM

It is a sad thing when the government has to sue you for not visiting your old parents. If the same thing happened over here, we could probably pay the US sovereign debt as well.


Sadder when the thirty-somethings come to visit and overstay their welcome...

Dec 28, 2012 6:41PM
This is another reason that makes China a survivor. They will not tolerate the detoriation of the family. The complete collapse of family through divorce, single parenthood, homosexuality etc is a major reason for the imminent collapse of the USA and Western Democracies. China will be dancing on our financial and morally bankrupt graves. Our collapse is right on the horizon, we have rendered our basic values which made us great and even basic math politically incorrect. The future of the world belongs to another system  of govt and sound values. Throughout history prominent civilizations were the result of sound family structure. Goodbye USA and Europe.
Dec 28, 2012 6:09PM
Today's kids only visit the grand parents if they think they have been named in the will. Otherwise they aren't to be found. Sad but true.
Dec 28, 2012 6:07PM

The propaganda media machine blathers on about the importance of family when most families I know haven't spoken to each other in years. In American society the family is just the first concept introducing you to a lifetime of indentured servitude in a world that wishes you were dead already. Nice job there Mom and Dad. Losers.

Dec 28, 2012 6:05PM
......mmm..the "Little Emperors" have grown -
Dec 28, 2012 5:55PM
I think we are going to have to be like the Golden Girls and help take care of each other.
Dec 28, 2012 5:41PM

When I was a young sailor I was called into the squadron commanders office and reamed up one side and down the other about not writing home.  Now that I'm a great grandpa I realize how much that meant to my parents.

Dec 28, 2012 5:39PM
China is not a "developing country" it has been around thousands of years. Now that it is changing to western ways...our ways is having a lot more problems with its  younger people that want everything now...just like our kids. I'm not saying it's wrong to want... just not at the price of your traditions. Except for us of coarse because we stole ours.
Dec 28, 2012 5:39PM
but not with my mom.  she wants to be independent and we want her to live with us.
Dec 28, 2012 5:36PM
My three jealous and uncaring sisters who live 8 hours away won in court against mother, father and me and got "guardian" to put dad against his will in nursing home bed next to mother where his skin quickly broke down and he died 2-6 months early and very badly on "hospice" after trying to escape back home.  This terrified mother.  I had not been allowed to visit her more than 4 one hours in the 7 1/2 months since until I was told by a distant lawyer VA law prevents a nursing home from having "no trespass" for family.  In this country, we do not look death in the face and see how we would really like to be treated and given (what) choices (are left) and that as we adapt we do not "want to die". My sisters said they "would rather be dead than be like Mother" who is total care and aphasic (she knows what she wants to say but cannot usually say it).  No one but the caregivers (who all say it took them a month to be able to communicate with her) have meaningful conversations with her.  The sisters rarely visit (two have once since 9/7/12 Dad's funeral). They talk about instead of to her.  We had 5 lovely caregivers in Chapel Hill from Kenya who all called her "Mother". We are losing out and when we are old we will be very sorry ourselves. Maybe I will look into moving to Kenya.  Meanwhile I cherish every moment I am allowed to spend with my mother, bringing her the delights only a daughter would know are meaningful to her.    
Dec 28, 2012 5:35PM

How sad that their has to be a law. Maybe  there should be one here in the United States. Many of my friends are neglected by their adult children, including myself. I've talked to mine about it, but nothing changed. I don't ever ask for their help or complain about my health, I don't want to be a burden. I know when my mother was alive, we talked

almost everyday, I loved her so very much, I just couldn't imagine being so distant. Life is short...

Dec 28, 2012 5:33PM
I like that. China has a long history and shows respect for elders. The Russian leader Putin who flies with Geese is good show of interest for the planet's wild life and very brave. American can learn from it's allies. Don't kill all the Geese in the park because they poop and someone stepped in it. The Arizona sheriff who stepped up to plate in protecting children at school is a good move of caring. Seal the southern borders with the labor of our young entitlement people. Not helping the home owners has taken our middle class to the financial slaughter house. No one is impressed. God bless America, Land that I love, Stand beside her and guide her from light from above. I still sing that song and hope my country is humble enough to learn from her God, Friends & Partners.
Dec 28, 2012 5:18PM
Someone.   You as a U.S. citizen pay 4 times more for your health care than anyone on the planet and you are 39th in life expectancy.  Crappy Cuba does better than the U.S.   It is not just a Confusian idea but Buddhist also.   The idea being that your parents took care of you as a baby and supported you and now that they can no longer take care of themselves, you are obligated to care for them.   Americans generally do not like this idea since Americans tend to be quite selfish.   Yes, they will give to charity as long as it is a tax right off but to take their time to care for their parents?  No way.
Dec 28, 2012 5:10PM
This from a country that kills babies without regard to life - prior to that mandate - killed all females without regard for life - why the change of heart?  just kill the elderly like they do the babies & call it population control. Simple & sadistic - just the way the Chinese have always been. 
Dec 28, 2012 5:09PM

As an old person , I love the idea of it ! But seriously ?


If you raised your children correctly, then this isnt necessary .


But todays standards are slipping away, selfish children grow up into selfish adults.


Suit will not change that. Its too bad tho.

Dec 28, 2012 5:06PM

China leads the way!  Great idea; don't let the family-values of American "exceptionalism" infect and destroy your country.

Dec 28, 2012 4:54PM
Dec 28, 2012 4:39PM
I wish my kids would just visit once in a while instead of decid
ing to move in.
Dec 28, 2012 4:34PM
This is what happens when the elderly are seen as a burden more than a source of wisdom and advice.  The one child policy in China means that there are fewer younger people supporting an older generation.  The financial burden on the younger generation is taken out on the older by abuse and neglect.  It isn't justified in any way but it is unfortunately human.  The same is beginning to happen here in the US as the older "baby boomer" generation begins to take more and more resources from a much smaller young population.   It happened in France 10-15 years ago when i read about morgues filling up during a heat wave as older people couldn't take the stress of the heat and the younger generation couldn't be bothered to leave the beach long enough to have a funeral.  This is also a product of moral decay.
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