Over the Polluted River and Through the Clearcut Woods

To grandmother’s house we go.

A Chinese law requiring family members to visit their elderly relatives went into effect Monday to howls of online ridicule, as the country’s huge population ages rapidly.

The regulation “forces” children to visit their parents, the state-run Global Times newspaper said, with concerns growing over increasing numbers of “empty nest” homes.

China’s rapid development has challenged its traditional extended family unit, and reports of elderly people being neglected or mistreated by their children have shocked the country.

More than 14 percent of China’s population, or 194 million people, are aged over 60, according to the most recent figures from the National Bureau of Statistics.

The growing proportion of the elderly is the result of China’s controversial one-child policy, which was launched in the late 1970s to control population growth.

Many aged live alone in “empty nest” homes, as a result of their children finding work in other areas of China.

But while Internet users generally express concern for elderly people — who are highly respected in the close-knit Chinese family unit — many took to China’s Twitter-like microblogs to criticise the new measures.

“This is simply an insult to the nation.”

Another poster said: “The government uses legislation to protect the elderly, but in reality it is just to put all the blame on to their children.

“The government should have thought of how they would address this problem when it brought in the one-child policy.”

Oh, snap!

Essentially, China’s senior citizen population would be the fifth or sixth largest nation in the world (about the size of Brazil) if they were put on an ice floe and shoved from shore (perhaps the next government idea). That’s a lot of hand knit sweaters and homemade plum jam!

I can laugh and tease, but how different is this really from banning large sodas and implementing socialized medicine? The idea of government serving the citizen is dead and buried. The mutant system that has taken its place is the exact opposite.

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