BEIJING, Jan. 30 (UPI) -- A proposed Chinese law would require adult children to regularly visit their aged parents, officials said.
Under the proposed law, parents would be able to sue adult children who don't attend to them regularly, The New York Times reported.
The proposed amendment to a 1996 law on the rights of the elderly was made Monday by the Civil Affairs Ministry to the State Council in Beijing for consideration at the National People's Congress at its annual session in March, the Times reported
"Before, the courts did not accept this kind of lawsuit. But from now on, they will have to open up a case," said Wu Ming, a ministry deputy inspector.
The measure is unlikely to pass, said Jing Jun, a sociology professor at Beijing's Tsinghua University.
Others, however, are hopeful. "I know the person who drafted this provision, and the first thing I told him was 'Really nice move.' The whole society needs to start seeing that we need to give the elderly more care and attention," said Ninie Wang, international director of a Beijing-based nonprofit research organization, the Gerontological Society of China.
China has the third-highest rate of elderly suicides, after South Korea and Taiwan, said Jing, relying on data from the World Health Organization and Taiwan for his assessment.
The suicide rate among urban dwellers ages 70 to 74 nearly tripled between 2002 and 2009, compared with the rate in the 1990s, Jing's research showed.
But the suicide rate declined somewhat after 2006 when the government began providing insurance covering basic medical care, the Times said.