China “tiger mother” fact of the day?

Under a proposal submitted last Monday by the Civil Affairs Ministry to China’s State Council, adult children would be required by law to regularly visit their elderly parents. If they do not, parents can sue them.

“Before, the courts did not accept this kind of lawsuit,” Wu Ming, a deputy inspector for the ministry, told The Legal Evening News this month. “But from now on, they will have to open up a case.”

It is not obvious that the proposal is going to pass:

“The national delegates are rational enough,” Mr. Jing said.

China, by the way, has the world's third highest elderly suicide rate.  The article is interesting throughout.


The traditional model of intergenerational transfers (not just in China, btw, but pre-industrial revolution Europe as well) entailed parents spending much higher amounts on children, then relying wholly on children for retirement support, enforced by cultural norms. In the absence of banks, this makes a lot of sense.

But once we have banks - which offer a non-negative interest rate, compared to children - behavior shifts; children want to borrow from their own future and parents want to save for their own retirement. This naturally hurts the generation of parents just before financialization; since cultural norm enforcement is a costly activity, without the material incentive driving it, the norms enforcing filial piety disintegrate just as said parents retire. More abruptly high rates of growth imply a more bumpy transition. This is exacerbated, perhaps, by unexpectedly long lifespans.

The children involved are investing instead in building relationships within their own generational cohort, which is what a finance-enabled retirement would benefit from.

And that's my pet armchair theory of the day...

Wow, can you imagine what the visits would be like after the child loses a lawsuit and is forced by court-order to regularly see his parents? Worst self-defeating idea EVER.

Maybe they need a one parent policy.

Maybe they need a one parent policy.

See suicide rate.

Terrible proposal/potential law. You cannot force families to be close if they do not want to be; you cannot force emotion or love. I am Asian, however I do NOT feel that adult children are obligated to take care of older parents whatsoever. I would rather be sued and would much rather pay hefty fines than be forced to visit my parents.

If I was forced by any court order to visit someone, I would visit do so under duress but I would make the other party as miserable as possible during the visit.

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