The Los Angeles Times reports that Chinese children are being so unfilial these days that they have to fine them in order to get them spend more time with their elderly parents:
Members of a nearby senior community announced a different approach: They would fine offspring $5 if they didn’t invite their parents home for Chinese New Year.
From there we learn about how far things have fallen — how one man had to sue his children because they wouldn’t help him out after an accident incapacitated him. There are other people have taken another tack, and declared that the whole notion of filial piety is outmoded — like the retired professor Hao Maishou, who wrote up a contract with his kid 20 years ago, saying that he wouldn’t pay for his college education, help him put a down payment down on an apartment, or help him find a wife … but that in return, the son wouldn’t have to have sex quietly when his parents went to sleep at 10 in the nearby bedroom. According to this China Daily article, such a radical move was hotly debated, and for said son, not without its costs:
His son said the contract had been tough at first. His girlfriend left him after her parents learned of it and said she could not possibly marry into such a family. But he agreed he was now more independent-minded than his peers.
Don’t worry about it Hao, that girl
was a bitch wasn’t right for you anyway.
Another venerable Chinese tradition — the death penalty — has also been under fire of late. The Financial Times reports that criminals that might face the death penalty must be given the right to have their cases heard in open court in front of judges. Furthermore, a retrenching of the system means more power to the central, Supreme People’s Court (which is not some souped up version of the TV show), the upshot of this being:
Legal scholars suggest the move should cut the number of executions by one-third, since the supreme court has rejected death sentences in a significant portion of the relatively few cases it has reviewed and provincial judges are likely to want to avoid having their rulings overturned.
How many lives might be spared is impossible to say, however, since China keeps the number sentenced to die a closely guarded secret. Amnesty International, the human rights organisation, says at least 3,400 people were executed in China in 2004 – nearly 90 per cent of the global total – and cites suggestions by a senior Chinese legislator that the true annual toll could be close to 10,000.
There seems little doubt that some of those condemned were innocent. During a brief lifting of propaganda controls last year, Chinese media revealed a spate of cases of wrongful conviction that highlighted often slipshod legal process and questionable police tactics.
If you have the stomach for it, you can “watch” an execution in China here on ESWN — but don’t say we didn’t warn you, these are among the most graphic images we’ve ever seen in our lives, most definitely not suited for the squeamish.
Photo from ESWN.