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Home  /  Picture of the Day  /  Pic of the Day by Category  /  Chinese Society & Education 社会和教育  /  常回家看看”不只是法律那点事 - "Come Home often for a Visit" is not merely a Law Issue
常回家看看”不只是法律那点事 - "Come Home often for a Visit" is not merely a Law Issue print version
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民政部[1]副巡视员[2]称中国1.67亿老人中,有一半过着"空巢"[3] 生活,新修订的老年法[4]在社会保障里将强调:"与老年人分开居住的赡养人,要经常看望或者问候老人"。 对老人来说,物质赡养是基础的,精神赡养也是不可缺少的。但在现代化的进程中,"空巢"成了赡养老人不能回避的一个话题,对大多数人来说,"常回家看看"[5]成了一种无奈。




实际上,"常回家看看"本身就是一个很难界定清楚的问题,社会应该创造条件,让老人能够和子女就近居住,或者真正实现养老社会化, "常回家看看"应该大力提倡,但定位必须清楚,它只是现代社会养老的一个辅助。

The Ministry of Civil Affairs Assistant Office regard China's 167000000 million old people, among which half of them have 'empty nest' lives, with the new revised 'old age law'. The law ensures, as a social safeguard that "the supporters of the elderly, who live apart from them, should often visit the elders or send their respects to them."

Concerning the elderly, material support is basic, while spiritual support is indispensable. Yet in the course of modernization, 'empty nest' has become a topic which cannot be evaded when it comes to elderly support. For most people, "come home often for a visit" has become a sort of helpless situation.

Although children's duty to "come home often to visit" has already been clearly legalized, since a compatible system doesn't exist, this duty might be unable to realize. In order to fully achieve the "come home often for a visit" law design, there should also be a guarantee that children have good intention, time and money.

Concerning the problem of time to "come home often for a visit", at present, public holidays have been indeed increased, though it is still difficult to solve this problem. As far back as 1981, State Council has issued "Regulation concerning workers visiting and treating relatives", though the target of these regulations involves workers of government offices and state run institutions, hence it evidently had no way to meet the demand of "come home often for a visit". Thus, there was a need to carry out new rules to ensure that all workers have time to "come home often for a visit".

But even if there is time, then money might be lacking. In order to solve this problem, two aspect of this wish must be addressed: First is workers' salary and second is setting a fund for this specific purpose, having the aid which was provided according to "regulation concerning workers visiting and treating parents", allowing workers to refund the entire amount of travel expenses when they visit their families.

As a matter of fact, "come home often for a visit" itself is a topic which cannot be defined easily. Society should create conditions which enable the elderly to live nearby their children or truly bring about elderly social care services. "Come home often for a visit" should be encouraged eagerly, but its meaning must be clear, since it is only a supplementary assistance to elder care in the modern society.

[1] 民政部 mín zhèng bù  - Ministry of Civil Affairs.

[2] 副巡视员 fù xúnshì yuán - Literally 'assistant inspection staff';  巡视员 normally refers to workers without leadership responsibilities in a main governmental office. Here the article mentions their assistants (副).

[3] "空巢" kōng cháo - "Empty nest", a popular term which refers to a relatively old couple which doesn't reside with their offspring, who already left the 'nest'.

[4] 老年法 lǎonián fǎ - "Old age law"; a set of laws regarding to rights of the elderly in China (such as social and filial support), formed in 1996. Recently the laws has been revised, encouraging (or obligating) children to visit their parents often.

[5] "常回家看看" cháng huíjiā kànkan - 'Come home often for a visit', the nickname of the new revised regulations which stress children's duty to visit and support their parents. A TV show and a song (which is played often during the Chinese new year, when youngsters return and visit their parents) with this title also exist.

[6] 国务院 guówùyuàn - State Council, the chief administrative authority in the PRC.

[7] 《关于职工探亲待遇的规定》guānyú zhígōng tànqīn dàiyù de guīdìng - 'Laws concerning workers visiting and supporting parents': A law discussed in the National People's Congress on March 1981, and published a month later by the State Council, which regards workers' duties of supporting and visiting parents. This law addresses workers of government offices and of state-run enterprises. The law can be read here.

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