Growing Old in China

Filial Piety in the 21st Century


  • Mark Pufpaff


China’s population is ageing. The ratio of retirees to workers is increasing at the same time as the size of the average family is decreasing, thus putting strains on China’s working populations, many of whom are responsible for taking care of their retired family members. In China, the tradition of parent/child reciprocity is called filial piety. However, with changing dynamics and demographics, how it is or ought to be practised in the 21st century prompts fresh reflection.
This paper presents the ethical challenges and opportunities facing the practice of filial piety and explores mutually beneficial options for both children and parents.