Grown children in China are feeling tough love from those other than their parents, with a new law enforced by the government Monday “forcing” them to visit elderly family members.

The new “Elderly Rights Law” requires adult children to visit their ageing parents, the state-run Global Times newspaper said.

The regulation was passed in the hopes of reviving Chinese virtue of filial piety – a Confucian virtue of respect for one’s parents or elders – amid a growing number of “empty nest” homes and increasing reports of elderly people being neglected or mistreated.

“Those who live far away from parents should go home often,” according to the law.

While the law fails to outline specific details on how often children should visit their parents, offenders potentially face fines or jail.

The policy drew criticism from tens of thousands of Chinese who either took it as an insult or saw it as absurd.

“The government uses legislation to protect the elderly, but in reality it is just to put all the blame on their children,” a user posted in Sina Weiba, China’s equivalent of Twitter.

China’s rapid development has threatened its traditional close-knit family unit while its greying population, a result of the controversial one-child policy, remains a challenge to the government, reports AFP.