According to a draft amendment to the country's law on elderly people, children of aged parents are required to visit them regularly, raising public concern over the aging population in China, says an article in China Youth Daily. Excerpts:
Filial piety has traditionally been one of the most desired virtues in human beings. Children are bound to take care of their aged parents' material and spiritual needs. In today's world, the least that aged parents' children could do is to visit them regularly.
The number of people aged 60 years and above in China crossed 167 million by the end of 2009.
The intensive economic reform and urbanization over the past decade have seen the labor force shift from rural to urban areas, and many young people are still leaving their homes in rural areas for cities in search of jobs. This forces their elderly parents to fend for themselves.
Because of the immense pressure of work, and repayment of house loans and their children's education charges, young parents nowadays find it increasingly difficult to spare time and energy for their elderly parents who live separately.
This is a grave challenge facing Chinese society. The traditional way of supporting the elderly should undergo some changes. Of course, children cannot free themselves of their duty, but the government should take up some of their responsibilities.
To ease the burden on the labor force and improve the livelihood of elderly people, governments at all levels should increase their expenditures to improve the prevailing social security and pension insurance systems, because many elderly people, especially those in rural areas, still have great difficulty in accessing medical and other essential services.