New filial piety law takes effect to much criticism in China

PUBLISHED : Monday, 01 July, 2013, 11:51am
UPDATED : Thursday, 29 August, 2013, 4:13am

Be careful unfilial children, you might be breaking the law in China if you don't visit your elderly parents from now on.

"Family members who live apart from their parents should often visit or send regards to their parents," reads the new Chinese Elderly Protection Law, which comes into effect on Monday.

Article 17 also prohibits family members from “overlooking or neglecting the elderly”, but it doesn't specify the punishment.

Most of Chinese internet users have criticised the new law. “It’s not feasible. How do authorities define ‘often’ and how would they enforce the law?” asked one Weibo user.

“The intention is good, but the method is bad. It is not suitable to use laws to regulate moral issues. Morality is not something we can force,” said another.

Some commenters said the law only adds to the other pressures children face. “Most of children want to visit their parents, but they don’t have time and have to make a living in other cities,” said one Weibo user.

Others thought the law reflected on Chinese people’s deteriorating morality.

“Filial piety should be a natural thing. Why does the government have to use laws to force us to visit our parents? Maybe that’s the tragedy of our generation,” said one user.

China's over-60 crowd is estimated to reach 200 million people this year, about 15 per cent of the total population.