The Law of Honoring Thy Parents

It seems to me that this, which I spotted in the no-longer-available-to-print-subscribers-online National Review “The Week” feature in the February 21 issue, likely misses most of the good things that an expectation of respect for one’s parents can inculcate in a society:

Oldsters in today’s China too often go neglected by their busy, ambitious children. … China now has the world’s third-highest elderly-suicide rate. What to do? Pass a law! The nation’s Civil Affairs Ministry is pushing legislation that will require adult children to visit their elderly parents regularly. Unvisited parents will have a right to sue the kids.

Where the culture is inactive, I suppose, the law will invade. Operating under guilt at least requires an acknowledgment by progeny that they owe something to their progenitors. I’m not so sure that visits performed under threat of legal action will have the beneficial effects desired for the elderly, or their children.

0 0 votes
Article Rating
Notify of
Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
13 years ago

“The nation’s Civil Affairs Ministry is pushing legislation that will require adult children to visit their elderly parents regularly.”
Sheesh. Leave it to the dictatorial gov’t of China to come up with such an idea.
Presumably, this is yet another idea out of Beijing that entrances the NYT’s Thomas “China-has-a-reasonably-enlightened-dictatorship” Friedman.

13 years ago

In a google search I found the “Law of the People’s Republic of China on Protection of the Rights and Interests of the Elderly”, which is the law that would be amended to add the mandatory visitation provision noted in the post. See “This Law is enacted in accordance with the Constitution to protect the lawful rights and interests of the elderly, develop the undertakings related to the elderly and promote the Chinese people’s virtues of respecting and providing for the elderly.” We have long passed the point where we need to legislate protection of the elderly from their own children in this country. Instead, we have medicaid rules that have encouraged the most greedy among us to strip their parents of their property, ostensibly to make them “medicaid eligible”, but really to sell the family home out from under them and take from them what they have saved for their old age. Those assets will be better used by the 50-something kids for that new SUV, granite counter-top kitchen, and/or trip to Cancun. Don’t want father to use it all up staying in his own home and leave us nothing. Nope, we aren’t going to wait until they die, we want it now! No need to worry about mother, she will be in the nursing home, courtesy of the US taxpayers. The greedy children start early on the parents to transfer the assets, they are savvy to the ‘look back’ periods. I used to assume that my generation all felt like me and my siblings – honor thy father and mother, the way we saw our parents respect and care for our grandparents. Our parents’ home and savings are to be used for their enjoyment, comfort and care for all of their lives. If they can’t live alone,… Read more »

Show your support for Anchor Rising with a 25-cent-per-day subscription.