Meet the Tiger Elders, with lawyers on speed-dial

by Walter Olson on January 31, 2011

“Under a proposal submitted last Monday by the Civil Affairs Ministry to China’s State Council, adult children would be required by law to regularly visit their elderly parents. If they do not, parents can sue them.” ["China Might Force Visits to Mom and Dad," New York Times]

{ 2 comments }

1 Bill Poser 01.31.11 at 5:22 pm

Here in British Columbia, the law requires adult children to support their parents in some circumstances. There is on-going litigation about this. See here.

2 Arthur Borges 02.01.11 at 11:06 pm

Children have had a moral obligation to care for their parents in old age for thousands of years in China. The idea is that parents give much of two decades of their lives to raise a kid and they are entitled to payback. New pressures from the shift into a market economy are causing larger and larger numbers of children to ignore this obligation.

Moreover, China is a consensus-based society where history’s laundry list of natural and man-made disasters taught people the value of social networking a long time ago: when the schlitz hits the fan, your personal survival depends on who you can count on and everybody here knows that government is first and foremost in business for itself. Americans are very naive about this last fact.

Finally, village leaders simply haven’t the funds to care for the elderly beyond token monthly pensions yet feel they cannot humanly abandon folks they’ve known all their lives. This law began as a result of uncoordinated grassroots initiatives that worked their way up through county and provincial level to the National People’s Congress.

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