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New Chinese Law: Visit Mom and Dad

Chinese man Wang Bangyin breaks down as he hugs his rescued son at Guiyang Welfare Center for Children in Guiyang, southwest China's Guizhou province on October 29, 2009, as Wang's son was among the 60 children police rescued from human traffickers.  Police in China have set up a website aimed at locating the families of up to 60 children recovered during a six-month crackdown on human trafficking, state press reported. CHINA OUT AFP PHOTO (Photo credit should read STR/AFP/Getty Images)
Photograph by AFP/Getty Images

Chinese culture has long been respectful of their elders, but now it’s a law. Government officials have passed a mandate called the “Protection of the Rights and Interests of Elderly People.” It lays out nine statutes that compel kids to tend to the “spiritual needs” of the elderly.

For instance, the law states that kids should visit their parents “often.” What “often” means is anyone’s guess, but we’ll bet it’s more than some kids’ once-every-few-years habit to ask their folks for money.

Pretty much all parents around the world complain that they don’t see their kids enough. And in China, at least, some kids would actually like to see their parents more often, too—it’s just that they live too far away from them, and can’t take time off work. To address this, the law also says that companies should give employees time off for parental visits.

“China’s economy is flourishing, and lots of young people have moved away to the cities and away from their aging parents in villages,” Dang Janwu, vice director of the China Research Center on Aging, told the New York Times. “This is one of the consequences of China’s urbanization. The social welfare system can answer to material needs of the elders, but when it comes to the spiritual needs, a law like this becomes very necessary.”

So we appreciate the sentiment … but how are you going to enforce this? Will there be fines or jail time for not visiting your folks? Apparently not—the law specifies no punishment for offenders. It was created purely to add some added pressure to the guilt trip your parents already lay on you.

Still, though: What if your mom beat you? Or your dad is a serial killer? Should these kids also have to pay their respects? Even though a law like this would never get passed in the States, barring major exceptions, we kinda like it (and our moms and dads approve, too).

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