As China Ages, Beijing Turns to Morality Tales to Spur Filial Devotion


BEIJING — Reading it now, six centuries after Guo Jujing wrote this paean to parental devotion, “The 24 Paragons of Filial Piety” comes off as a collection of scary bedtime stories. There is the woman who cut out her own liver to feed her sick mother, the boy who sat awake shirtless all night to draw mosquitoes away from his slumbering parents and the man who sold himself into servitude to pay for a father’s funeral. Continue reading

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A cultural revolution to make London sit up and take notice

Marina Hyde in Beijing
The Guardian, Tuesday 12 August 2008

Jiao Bingcheng is hanging upside down, virtually in a splits position, from a set of monkey bars. Building up his swing, he pivots 180 degrees, draws his legs together, and pushes up into a locked-arm handstand.

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The Demographic Divide: Challenges in China’s Senior Housing

ULI–the Urban Land Institute,  Mark Cooper May 24, 2012

2012 Asia Pacific Summit

By 2050, there will be more over-60s in China than there are people in the United States—that’s 450 million. Even today there are nearly 180 million, and social and demographic pressures mean that Chinese senior citizens cannot be cared for by their children in the Confucian tradition; the one-child policy means a couple could be responsible for four parents and eight grandparents. Continue reading

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China: Who Will Care for the Elderly?

Nicolas P. Retsinas. April 20, 2012


In the new China, demand for housing for seniors is real.

In a development that would astound Confucius, special housing complexes for the elderly are springing up in China. They are a blip statistically, but an astonishing blip. For centuries, ancient traditions dictated that children were responsible for taking care of their elders, and children obeyed. Several generations often lived under one roof.

Some figures show the change. Today in China there are roughly 266,000 beds in nursing homes, up from virtually none 30 years ago. In 1980, Nanjing had three nursing homes; in 2009, it had 140. Modern government edicts have sought to codify ancient rules of filial duty. In 1996, China officially required children to care for aged parents. A subsequent proposed amendment mandated that children visit their elderly parents regularly or risk a lawsuit. A regulation in Jinhua forbade children from forcing parents to give them money. Continue reading

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