Shanghai Parents Will Soon Be Able to Sue Kids Who Don’t Visit Home

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Visits from children back home to their parents are about to become a whole lot more frequent in Shanghai, China.
Chinese authorities ruled recently that children who no longer live at home and don’t visit their parents would face some severe consequences if they don’t change their ways. They must “visit or send greetings often,” or they may be sued by their parents. If this happens, the court can force the adult children to have to return back home or to a nursing home.
And what happens to those who don’t comply with the court’s orders? They could potentially be “credit blacklisted,” which means they’ll suddenly find themselves having a very difficult time opening a bank account or applying for a loan. The policy is part of an ordinance called “Regulations Safeguarding the Interests of the Elderly in Shanghai” (a rough translation), which will go into effect on May 1.
Now, while it may seem bizarre to have it be a legal obligation to visit your parents, the Huffington Post reports that some Chinese media outlets are taking it rather seriously, comparing people who don’t visit their parents to “hit-and-run drivers and people who evade subway fares.” It’s evidently a pressing topic in Chinese culture, with children visiting home “[fulfilling] a moral obligation and [providing] spiritual comfort to their parents.”
It’s possible that Shanghai’s aging population may play a key role into this policy going into effect. According to official statistics, 30% of Shanghai’s population is aged over 60 years old, and that group is expected to grow over the coming years.
People took to social media platforms to discuss their misgivings about the new policy. There were two prevailing concerns that came up. Firstly, those who did not have positive upbringings would be forced to return to their homes. Second, people were not too enthusiastic about the fact that the government insists upon intervening in private family matters.
One user expressed that “whether or not children visit their parents ‘is a reflection of a person’s upbringing...Why do we have to tie these things to the law?’”
Whether or not this policy will bring positive effects to Shanghai’s elderly population, only time will tell. Nonetheless, this policy is quickly being implemented, and while it is causing grief among a vocal population, it does align with a culture that is heavily influenced by an aging population.

By: Tim Milles

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