Updated: 2013-07-05 07:04
To visit aging parents regularly 常回家看看 (chang hui jia kan kan)
The amended Law of Protection of Rights and Interests of the Aged in China came into effect on Monday. It stipulates that adults must regularly visit and take care of their elderly parents. If they don't do so, they could be sued in court.
The new law, however, has sparked a public debate on whether it is feasible for people to honor its clauses.
Many people doubt whether the law is enforceable, because it does not clarify how often people have to visit their parents. Besides, working people who live far away from their parents will find it difficult to take leave to visit their parents regularly. Also, the law does not specify the punishment for those violating it.
Although filial piety has traditionally been a virtue for Chinese people, stories of old people being "neglected" are not uncommon. The problem is becoming all the more distinct with China's population aging - official statistics show that more than 185 million people in the country were 60 years or older in 2012 and the figure is expected to double in the next two decades.
Some experts have praised the law, though, because it is aimed at raising people's awareness about caring for the elderly and reminding them of their obligations. But to support the increasing number of aging people, social welfare and social security systems for the elderly have to be improved in order to meet their financial and spiritual needs.
(China Daily USA 07/05/2013 page16)