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New China Family Law Says Elderly Parents Can Sue Children For Not Visiting Them

By Melissa Siegel on December 29, 2012 7:37 PM EST 0

Elderly Chinese
Elderly Chinese parents will soon be able to sue their children for not visiting them. (Photo: REUTERS / Sheng Li)

A new China family law is requiring adult children to visit their elderly parents.

According to the Associated Press, China's national legislature amended its existing law on Friday, requiring children to visit older parents "often" or risk being sued. The new China family law does not specify how often these visits must occur.

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This new China family law was apparently put in place to deal with the growing number of elderly parents who feel neglected by their children. Earlier this month, the South China Morning Post reported a story of a 100-year-old grandmother who was forced by her son to live in a pigpen for three years. The son, who lives in a six-room house, claimed that his mother had wanted to live in the pen.

The new China family law also comes at a time when the country's elderly population is expanding rapidly. The AP reports that life expectancy in the nation has grown from 41 to 73 over the past 50 years. Meanwhile, China does not feature affordable retirement or nursing homes like many other countries.

In addition, BBC News reports that nearly one-eighth of the Chinese population is over the age of 60, while the nation has one million residents 80 or older. According to AFP News, United Nations estimates predict that 30 percent of China will be 60 or older by the year 2050, compared to 20 percent in the rest of the world.

Thus, this new China family law attempts to ensure that this growing elderly population will be taken care of. This is particularly necessary since increased urbanization and China's strict one-child policy have led to the erosion of traditional extended families throughout the nation. The regulation attempts to deal with the former problem by requiring employers to give workers time off to visit their parents back home.

The new China family law will go into effect on July 1, 2013.

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