Sunday, January 30, 2011

Parents in law

The Chinese legislature is considering a draft bill which calls for more emotional care of the elderly. The bill, if enacted, will amend the existing Law on the Protection of Rights and Interests of the Aged and will require that elderly parents be visited regularly by their children. It is expected to prevent physical and emotional isolation of the elderly.
I can come up with many arguments as to why this law is not fair, on the basis of some truisms about individual liberties. Yet, all societies obligate parents to support their offspring until they are children and I am more inclined than not to think that taking care of the elderly is the logical flip side of the coin.
Further, societies with social welfare programs spend significant sums of money after the elderly. Perhaps there is a economic argument too, for these kinds of laws.
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On the subject, India enacted the Maintenance and Welfare of Parents and Senior Citizens Act in 2007. The law obligates children and legal heirs who have attained majority to provide for their elderly relatives.
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While still on the subject, check out this traditional Chinese song 常回家看看 (Go see your parents frequently). This rendition is by Gong Yue.
Perhaps the inspiration for the proposed law. A translation is here.

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