Thursday, 4 July 2013
"Protection of the Rights and Interests of Elderly People"
The title of this blog post is the name of a law passed in China a few months ago, introduced to effectively force people to look after and visit their elderly relatives.
In Confucian philosophy, filial piety is a virtue of respect for ones parents and ancestors. It is seen as one of the most important of virtues and many folklore stories tell of individuals great love, service and dedication to their parents. However it is seemingly not enough to simply tell your children of these ancient tales, it also needs to be enshrined in law officials have decided.
The law has nine clauses that lay out the duties of children and their obligation to tend to the “spiritual needs of the elderly.”. It clearly states that children should go home “often” to visit their parents and send them greetings. Companies and work units should legally give employees enough time off so they can make these parental visits.
It does not specify punishments, but already people are beginning to use this law to force their children to take care of them. A court in Wuxi found a couple guilty after they were sued by the wife's mother-in-law. They are now bound by a court order to visit at least once every two months to tend to her 'spiritual needs' and pay her compensation. One can only assume the subsequent visits have been more than a little awkward!
Much of this has come after many Chinese people have moved to the cities in search of work and left their parents in the countryside. Reports indicate that half of the 185 million people age 60 and older live apart from their children.
Do you think this is a good idea? Do you think it will help the problem? What aspects of this are a positive thing? What problems can you see?
Read more here: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/07/03/world/asia/filial-piety-once-a-virtue-in-china-is-now-the-law.html