China Says To Go See Your Parents … Or Else

By: Mary Odell / July 2, 2013

A lot of parents play the guilt card if you don’t visit enough. You never write! You never call, either! But China will actually fine you or throw you in jail for not stopping by to visit Mom and Dad. The country is having some pretty big problems with its population: as the number of people over 60 years old exceeds 194 million, the government is looking for new ways to ensure that children care for their aging parents. In an attempt to solve this problem, a new phrasing of an existing law came into effect this week that threatens fines or jail time for grown children who do not visit their elderly parents enough. What exactly does “enough” mean? The law isn’t clear. And how does the Chinese government plan to catch people who aren’t visiting enough? Are parents supposed to rat out their kids? Clearly this law is a direct result of China’s “one child policy” which has been in effect for the past 30 years. There are far too many elderly people for the young and able to support. Even in individual families, it is a huge burden on a single child to take care of both of his or her parents. The Chinese government mostly hopes that this law will serve to encourage children to visit their elderly parents, but there’s a good chance it’ll just vastly increase the number of lawbreakers in China. [The Christian Science Monitor] [Annoyed Asian woman photo via Shutterstock]