New law to protect elderly parents

By Yu Ran (China Daily)
Updated: 2011-01-22 11:24
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SHANGHAI - Parents in an East China province will be able to turn to the law if they want to reject the financial demands of their adult children.

The People's Congress of Jiangsu province passed an ordinance on Friday forbidding adult children from demanding money or belongings from their parents in a forcible way.

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The provision is widely seen as an attempt at undermining the NEET group, a name used to refer collectively to young people who chose to live off their parents rather than seek steady employment, attend school or enroll in special training.

"The right conferred on elderly parents to refuse requests for financial support will help parents who have children in the NEET group," said Zhao Jianyang, director of the administrative law department, Law Committee of the Standing Committee of the People's Congress of Jiangsu.

The provision, the first of its kind in China, contains an important caveat: Children will not be violating the law if they obtain financial assistance from parents who are willing to lend a hand.

The provision is part of an ordinance designed to protect the rights of the elderly (those over 60 years old) in Jiangsu.

The ordinance meanwhile encourages adult children to make regular visits to their parents' homes and to take care of their elderly parents.

In one of several recent trends in China, more young people have adopted the NEET lifestyle as a means of leading a more comfortable existence.

According to the statistics released by the China Research Center on Aging last year, up to 30 percent of young people fall into the NEET category and 65 percent of families must contend with NEET children.

The new provision elicits varying opinions.

"The regulation will likely lead to discord in families and disputes on financial issues," said Jiang Xuelai, a 25-year-old white-collar employee at a private company in Wuxi, Jiangsu province.

Gao Jianming, a 55-year-old teacher in Xuzhou, Jiangsu province, said the provision will be a benefit to him.

"I've noticed the NEET problem among my friends whose children are too dependent on their parents, which is wrong. Parents should have the right to enjoy their elderly years with their own money, " said Gao.

He added that society will benefit from the call for adult children to pay regular visits to their parents.