As reported in Saturday’s NY Times, a characteristically are-they-serious take on the 5th Commandment out of Beijing. Clearly ministry officials aren’t reading much Gerhard Forde (ht BJG):

On the eve of the Lunar New Year festival, when Chinese flood train stations, bus terminals and airports to reunite with loved ones, one Chinese ministry is proposing that the government mandate closer families.

Under a proposal submitted last Monday by the Civil Affairs Ministry to China’s State Council, adult children would be required by law to regularly visit their elderly parents. If they do not, parents can sue them. “Before, the courts did not accept this kind of lawsuit,” Wu Ming, a deputy inspector for the ministry, told The Legal Evening News this month. “But from now on, they will have to open up a case.”…

Like the proposed national amendment, the provincial ordinance encourages adult children to see their parents regularly. What constitutes regular — as opposed to occasional or infrequent — is unclear. So is how such a requirement could be enforced.

Mr. Wu, the Civil Affairs Ministry official, said in his interview with The Legal Evening News that lawsuits accusing children of emotional neglect of their parents “would be different from normal lawsuits.” Because the amendment tries to govern social behavior, he said, “some details cannot be set forth very clearly.” He suggested some lawsuits might end in supervision or mediation.