A 94-year old Chinese woman has been afforded rights by a court in China on the legal action she slapped against her four adult children. Zhang Zefang had taken her children to court for abandonment because they refused to take care of her.
A court order had forced three of Ms Zefang's children to take her into her homes and take care of her, at four months each maximum. A fourth child had been ordered to pay her $10 a month.
All four children, sons 71-year old Zhou Mingde, 68-year old Zhou Yinxi, and 56-year old Zhou Gangming, as well as 54-year old daughter Zhou Yunhua, were likewise told by the court to pay for her medical bills.
Ms Zefang told AP she never wanted to bring their family matter to court, but maintained she was left with no choice.
"I never thought about whether my kids would take care of me when I was old," she said. "I just focused on taking care of them."
What used to be an exclusive matter within the immediate family was broadcast to the public when Ms Zefang went to the local court in her village in Fusheng in southwest China.
She got emboldened when the court told her she could sue her children for rights. This Elder Care Law, which had been existing in China for sometime, was actually revised in December 2012. The revision called for children not only extending financial support but also emotional support. Chinese parents can sue their children when they don't get visited often or not visited at all.
Her children will be forced to comply and give in to her demands, otherwise they face the wrath of the law, it was explained to her.
But Kuang Shiying, wife of Ms Zefang's eldest son Mingde, said it's been hard since they received the orders from the court.
Ms Shiying explained his husband hardly has enough to support even himself. His pension is only $13 a month. Because of this, he is highly dependent on the $30 each that he receives from his three daughters but only gets to receive on his birthday and during Chinese New Year. His wife is paraplegic. He continues to do farming work because he cannot and must not stop, otherwise the bills will further pile up.
Meantime, the daughter of second son Zhou Yinxi has schizophrenia. He claimed he is broke and will only start receiving his pension in two years' time.
Youngest son Zhou Gangming said he and his wife only gets money when they are able to sell their two pigs and one cow. Their monthly pension is only $16.
Youngest child and only daughter Zhou Yunhua probably has the means to care for her mother, but she's far away. At least that's what she tells her elder brothers.
"I just wish I could die," said Ms Zefang, who now lives with Mingde as per orders of the court.
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