China Passes Law Protecting Elderly

800px-Elderly_Chinese_men_playing_draughts_in_Chinatown%2C_Singapore_-_2013

China Passes Law Protecting Elderly

This article is an interesting read. It seems that there is a growing number of people over age 60 in China. Statistics show that there are currently 179 million elderly residing there and by 2030 that number will double. Following three decades of the one child per family law there are also fewer young people to care for the elderly. Perhaps we can learn something in the United States as China makes it a law that adult children visit their elderly parents.

China Passes Law

After several publicized incidents of abandoned and mistreated seniors, China’s National People’s Congress has passed a law to make sure that it’s seniors are taken care of. Called “The protection of the rights and interest of elderly people” the law gives parents over 60 the right to sue their children if they do not call or visit them (this lack of interaction or neglect is seen as abandonment).

Why is this so Important to the Chinese?

Chinese society has long been based upon the Confucian belief system which include an ingrained respect for the elderly. However, due to urbanization, most of the younger people have moved away from their family homes for jobs. This makes it difficult for children to visit, working long hours makes it hard to get time off work and the distance from home makes it expensive to visit often. This also happens in the United States as children often relocate their aging parents into nursing homes.

What Else are the Chinese doing?

The Chinese government realizes that for seniors it is a quality of life issue, the giving of mental, physical, financial and spiritual support to parents is essential. More importantly it is a way to enforce what they see as maintaining moral integrity. One of the most essential of the Confucian traditional virtues is that of “Filial piety,” the respect and care of one’s parents. The government has even re-published its own updated version of a collection of folk tales that has been used for six centuries to teach children moral values. Originally written by Guo Jujiangs the book “24 Paragons of Filial Piety” is made more relevant with the inclusion of additional, the government hopes, more relatable instructions, such as buying health insurance for parents and teaching them to use the internet.

The Results – China Passes Law Protecting Elderly

Implemented in 2013, failure to follow the new law can result in fines, mandated regular visits or even jail time. To aid adult children in making their visits the Chinese government is offering cash vouchers. It has also enacted regulations for companies to give leaves of absence so regular parental visits can be made. Some companies have offered 20 days per year of paid leave, so their employees can visit. Some adult children who cannot make the visits are hiring people on line to take their place. On its first day in effect a woman was ordered to visit her mother twice a month after the mother filed suit Needless to say, the law is somewhat controversial some see it as the government using legislature to back social ethical issues. Others see it as an attempt to increase moral integrity and protect the rights of the elderly. Only time will tell if the law actually makes a positive difference in the lives of the seniors it’s designed to help.

For people with loved ones suffering from elder abuse or who have been the victim of nursing home wrongful death, make sure that the responsible parties are held accountable. The legal system is in place to make sure justice is attained for everyone.

Related resources and articles by Ed Smith:

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Image Attribution: By Adsfghj, via Wikimedia Commons

Source of China Passes Law Protecting Elderly – http://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-china-23124345

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