The crime of filial neglect, and shifting senior care to families


“Five siblings have been punished for not fulfilling filial duties after their elderly father died alone last year,” reports Sixth Tone.

  • The man’s son and four daughters “have each been sentenced to up to two years in jail for abandoning him, the Beijing News reported Monday.”
  • Has this happened before?” asked New York Times reporter Chris Buckley, to which Mark Jia, a research fellow at the East Asian Legal Studies program at Harvard University, replied: “Fascinating. I had thought that the Elderly Law only provided civil remedies…but clearly not.”
  • Jia also links to this article in Bull World Health Organ: “Laws on filial support in four Asian countries.”

As China’s population ages, it seems certain that the Chinese government will seek to place at least some of the burden of senior care on families rather than on state organizations.