No Country for Old People

As Walter Russell Mead notes, visiting one’s elderly parents is now required by law. So many things are changing in China, but I cannot help but see the one-child policy as being a leading cause of the situation which the Chinese government seeks to address by passing yet another law.

Imagine that you are a girl, the first (and only) child of your parents. They wanted a boy. They tell you all the years you are growing up that you should have been a boy. They wonder how they’ll ever make it without a boy. Their line will die off. Etc.

So, you grow up, find a job in a city far far away and almost never go visit your parents. After all, they didn’t even want you to begin with.

I’ll grant you that this scenario is not the only one, but this one is played out time after time. Now, China seeks to address the long-term symptoms of a problem which it created when the one-child policy was established over 30 years ago. Not to mention the issue with over 30 million young men who cannot find brides because there aren’t enough women to go around.

When a country makes itself unwelcoming to its own young people, it does not take long before it becomes unwelcoming to its elderly. We need to be taking some notes, and making changes before it is too late.