A Chinese farmer has come under fire for keeping his 100-year-old mother in a pigsty, prompting a debate over how China cares for its elderly.
Chen Shoutian, from Guanyun county in Jiangsu province, has been criticised since a local television station broadcast a report claiming his mother had spent two years sharing a cramped, cinder block shack with a 440lb sow.
Mr Chen told the Jiangsu reporter that the mother of eight, who was born in the last days of the Qing Dynasty, had been happy to share her bedroom with the animal. "She wants to stay here because she feels it is convenient," he said.
China's micro-blogging community criticised the woman's plight, describing her as an example of growing neglect. "Is this something a 'human-being' is capable of doing?" wrote one user of Weibo, which is similar to Twitter. "Can't she at least enjoy a few good days after 100 years of hard work?" Mr Chen said there was no room for his mother in his six-room house. "I would have no problem living here," he said.
Other relations were less impressed. "It's so smelly that it is impossible to even come inside," said Liu Zhanbing, her grandson. Gu Yuqing, the daughter, said she had tried to rescue her mother but could not convince her to leave.
China has about 185 million citizens over 60 and that is expected to rise to nearly 490 million by 2053, a study found. Its one-child policy and measly pension system has put increasing pressure on only children to take care of parents. (©The Daily Telegraph)