In China, a country that values tradition and respect for its elders, a new law allowing seniors to take their children to court for neglect might appear out of place.
However, the Elderly Rights Law, which came into effect in July, has struck a chord at a time when the world’s second-largest economy is grappling with a fast-aging population.
“I saw about [the new law] on TV – I can now sue my own children if they don’t come and visit me!,” says Chen Jianguo, a 72-year old retiree living in Beijing, China’s capital city.
“I think there needs to be a law like this. Young people these days… I’m very disappointed, so many old people spend their time alone,” he added.
The United Nations expects more than a quarter of China’s population to be over the age of 65 by 2050. It forecasts the population, currently at about 1.35 billion, to peak in 2030.
A one-child policy introduced in 1977 has contributed to falling birth rates, while life expectancy, aided by a boom in the economy, has risen.