A WEEK after China introduced a law that requires people to visit their elderly parents, some entrepreneurial Chinese have started offering online surrogate visits to help unfilial children avoid legal hassles.
“One hour costs 150 yuan (US$24), one day costs 300 yuan,” said Jiang, who gave only his surname and was offering the service on Taobao, China’s largest e-commerce platform.
For that price, Jiang and his wife would visit any customer’s elderly parents anywhere in Beijing. The central district of Chaoyang would be cheaper, he said.
Jiang said he used to deliver flowers, but when the Law on Protection of the Rights and Interests of the Elderly took effect July 1, he decided to fill a market niche.
Under the law, people are required to regularly visit their parents. Last week, in the law’s first conviction, a couple was ordered to visit the wife’s elderly mother regularly and to pay her an unspecified amount of compensation. The law does not say how much a judge can fine.
So far, 10 Taobao sellers are offering to accompany elderly parents for a fee. The services are so far offered in Beijing, Shenzhen, Hangzhou and three other cities.
Such visitation services have cropped up as a way for some adults “to avoid violating morals, social customs and the law,” according to another provider in Shenzhen.
“It’s not enough to rely on a law to make sure children return home regularly to visit their parents,” Long Donglin, the director of the Kunming Academy of Social Sciences. “Paying for surrogate visits is a natural development. This only reflects the fact that there is a demand.” (SD-Agencies)