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New Chinese law: Visit your elderly parents—or else

December 28, 2012
by Pamela Tabar, Associate Editor
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Elders in China who feel neglected or abused by their children will now be able to sue them, based on last week’s amendment to the country’s elder law.

The tradition of extended familes has been undermined by decades of culture change in China, yet senior living facilities are few and expensive, notes the Associated Press. Add in China’s surging life-expectancy—which has nearly doubled in the past 50 years—and many elders are finding themselves victims of abandonment or mistreatment by their own families.

The amendment to China’s elder law states that adult children must visit their aging parents “often,” but doesn’t define the frequency of the requirement.

China’s 2010 census tallied 119 million people over age 65—8.87 percent of the nation’s total population, according to a World Health Organization bulletin. By comparison, seniors over age 65 comprised 12.4 percent of the U.S. census population in 2010.

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