Friday, 28 December 2012

Rich doctor scorned for being unfilial son

A high-earning doctor in south China who refuses to support his ill mother is facing fierce backlash in the country that traditionally values filial piety. 
Yang Xiaomin, an associate professor at Hainan Medical University and a doctor with HMU's Affiliated Hospital, has refused to provide 1,500 yuan ($240) a month to cover his septuagenarian mother's medical costs and daily expenses.
Yang refuses to be his mother's caretaker, saying he "cannot afford to hire a nanny."
When his sister stepped in to take care of their mother and asked for money to help cover the costs, he refused even though the sum is only about one-seventh of his monthly salary.
Yang has suggested sending his mother, surnamed Li, to a local nursing home, threatening to sever all ties with Li if she doesn't.
"I have devoted my whole life to bringing up my son. I can't believe he would treat me like this," Li sobbed.
Yang's behavior has angered netizens and sparked a widespread discussion on the state of morality in China. One media report about the case has been forwarded more than 1,800 times on Twitter-like Sina Weibo, with irate netizens lashing out at his disrespectful behavior.
"He doesn't deserve to be called a human being!" wrote Weibo user "buqieryu."
"This is unbelievable! How do you expect someone with low moral standards to be a good doctor?" wrote "yuanshanyouwu."
Since the case began circulating on Weibo, Yang has been suspended from his positions at HMU and the hospital.
This, however, is not the only case that has drawn Chinese people's attention to the topic of filial piety recently. Earlier this month, a 91-year-old mother was beaten by her son and daughter-in-law and kicked out of her family's home simply because she wanted to have a bowl of porridge instead of noodles, her staple food for the past 22 years.
Another case of parent abuse was exposed via Weibo, in which a centenarian, surnamed Jiang, was living in a pigsty in Guanyun County, Lianyungang City, in Jiangsu Province.
Jiang, whose five sons and three daughters were supposed to take turns caring for her, has been living with pigs for the past three years. One of her sons insists that Jiang wanted to live with the pigs.
These cases reflect the disappearance of the traditional value of filial piety in a country with a fast-growing economy, said Xia Xueluan, a professor with the Department of Sociology of Peking University.
"In China, there are many who ignore the moral value of showing filial piety to parents, such as those often seen in property disputes with their parents," Xia said.
China is going through economic and social restructuring. Amid these changes, many are chasing money and leaving behind traditional Chinese values, including those regarding family relations, he said.
The government needs to do more work in moral education, especially in a graying China where filial piety is disappearing and senior citizens face lots of psychological problems, he added.
China's population is rapidly aging. By the end of 2011, 185 million people in China were aged 60 or above, and the number is expected to further rise to account for about 30 percent of China's total population of nearly 1.4 billion by the middle of this century.
The Chinese government has been increasing people's awareness of the importance of helping the elderly and restoring the traditional value of filial piety. In July, the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress, the country's top legislature, reviewed an amendment to China's Law on the Protection of the Rights and Interests of the Elderly for the first time.
The amendment added an item that asks sons and daughters to go home often to see their aging family members, which gained strong support from the Chinese people.
But Xia said this is far from adequate.
"In addition to laws and regulations, the government should boost traditional morality education. It should also consider moral standards when selecting government officials and thus, drive them to set good examples for the general public in terms of morality," he said.
Source: Xinhua

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