China has a new law. Children with elderly parents must visit them regularly and offer financial support. If they fail to do so they may face fines and possibly jail time.
I support the general concept behind this law, I have always liked the traditional sense of family loyalty that the Chinese have. The idea that we should stand up for our parents and help them when they need it is one that I’ve tried to emulate in my own life.
The problem is, while well intended, it is too cumbersome and wide sweeping to be truly effective. China’s one-child policy and large numbers of people fleeing the countryside for profitable jobs in the cities makes it more and more difficult for these young adults to care for their parents.
One of the problems with modern society is that we often press forward without thinking of the effect of our actions in other spheres of our world. China has suddenly realized that in the very near future nearly 1/3 of their population will be considered elderly. There is little to no infrastructure in place for their care beyond familial care.
Here in the US we have more infrastructure, but the greed that pushes that infrastructure at the top creates sub-standard care conditions. We don’t have the numbers that China does, but I am concerned that unless we start taking things seriously we, too, will have an overwhelming problem.
Here’s the BBC News article about China’s new law: China’s new elder law