The Moral Dilemma and Social Disadvantages of Placing Unique Emphasis on the Filial Child

By Shi Li.

Published by The International Journal of Critical Cultural Studies

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

Filial piety is the traditional virtue of Chinese nationals. Given the fact that in China family support plays a major role for the aged in their later life, this tradition has been increasingly confronted by the challenge posed by the ‘4-2-1’ family structure (4 grandparents-2 parents-1 child) and the egoism of ‘the only child.’ It is important to promote the culture of filial piety for improving the later life of parents and social stability. However, the negative effect of the government placing unique emphasis on ‘the filial child’ while ignoring ‘the benevolent parent’ cannot be underestimated. This paper firstly explores the existence of unbenevolent parents in reality, and then discusses conflicts caused by the law enforcement of filial piety in terms of responsibility, rights and benefits, and finally points out the plethora of moral dilemmas and the social disadvantages of placing unilateral emphasis on the filial child, while affirming the positive aspects of promoting filial piety. Empiricism is employed in examining historical materials, films and TV programs, news reporting and provisions of law.

Keywords: Filial Piety, Benevolent Parent, The Filial Child, Moral Dilemma, Social Disadvantages

The International Journal of Critical Cultural Studies, Volume 11, Issue 1, pp.1-10. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 527.976KB).

Dr Shi Li

Lecturer, School of Arts, University of New England, Armidale, NSW, Australia

My research interest is principally in the field of Chinese culture, in particular, filial piety.