How often do your parents criticize you for not spending enough time back at home? Even when you explain that you work long hours, or that the commute is too hard, it seems like mom and dad never have enough of you. In America, all parents can do is nag, but in China they can sue you for negligence.
A new Chinese law states that all children must “frequently” visit and care for their parents. The law states that it is each child’s legal duty to care for their parents, and that if they are unable to spend physical time with their parents, that they must send a percentage of their income to them instead. Forget child support, parent support is the new deal in China.
This new law stems from China’s one-child policy, and overwhelming work culture that has left too many of China’s 185-million senior parents without proper care. In traditional Chinese culture, children are expected to care for their parents as they age. The Chinese Government is notoriously stingy in regards to providing welfare for retired citizens, making this need for child support even more crucial.
Respect for elders is still deeply engrained in Chinese culture, but the rapidly evolving Chinese economy has led to children moving far from home, and lacking time to care for mom and dad. The Chinese government is looking to establish moral and financial guidelines for how and when Chinese children should support their family.
It is unknown how this new law will be enforced. However, the new legislation gives parents the right to sue their own children if they perceive a lack of support. Unfortunately, the type of parent that would sue their own kid is likely one that children would least want to spend time in the first place.
This new law places pressure on Chinese children to stay close to home instead of venturing out with hopes of making a better living. Hopefully, individual Chinese families will discuss this law and figure out the best method for parents to get the support they need without having to sue their only child.