NANNING, Jan. 13 (Xinhua) -- Local government in southwest China has intervened in a scandal in which a 92-year-old woman was rumored to be locked in a pigsty by her son and daughter-in-law.
Images of an elderly woman sitting on a concrete floor behind bars in the remote village of Jinya, Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region went viral online in China, drawing widespread criticism. Posts online alleged the old woman was "locked in a pigsty."
The mounting public rage prompted the local government to investigate. Initial results showed that the woman was not living in a pigsty but in a tiny old home -- barely 5 square meters in size. She is sick and has lost bladder and bowel control, investigators said.
Village officials immediately sent the elderly woman to a hospital and summoned her son and daughter-in-law for questioning.
"The daughter-in-law wept and vowed to take her home to care for her," a government official said. "She explained that her husband was chronically ill and the mother had volunteered to move out to save them some trouble."
China is an aging society. The country is home to 220 million people over the age of 60, or 16.1 percent of the population. Many in cities still struggle to find good elder care services, and seniors in impoverished areas of the countryside with poor public services are largely left to their families.
China has laws demanding adults care for their parents.
The Jinya official said the couple has signed a legal caregiving agreement with the 92-year-old, and the government will keep an eye on whether they fulfill their obligations.
If the family applies for social security support, the government will review their qualifications accordingly, he added.
The solution has yet to quell the public anger as most Chinese still adhere to the centuries-old Confucian tradition of filial piety.
"What kind of children are they? Haven't they realized that one day they will grow old as well?" said a netizen named Wang Wanwan on Weibo.
"We should make unfilial practices a crime to severely deter people like them," said another.