More than 1,000 elderly Chinese citizens have reportedly gone to court to force their children to cough up assistance costs under a 2013 regulation introduced by the Shanghai administration that aims to compel adult children to visit their ageing parents regularly and provide them with emotional and financial support.

Shanghai, China’s commercial hub, issued regulations earlier this year that required children living apart from their parents to “visit or send greetings often.” Those found violating the regulation will have their credit scores lowered.

Mr Zhang, a villager, said village chiefs “try to talk” with offending offspring in the hope that they will agree to take better care of their parents.

If they continue to treat their relatives badly, the village puts their personal details and a picture on a billboard, he added.

Details of how they treated their parents badly are also shared, Mr Zhang said.

The village is also preparing to take the campaign a stage further next year. “We are planning to shame villagers who don’t fulfill filial duties on loudspeakers from January,” Mr Zhang said.

The village leader denied that the rules violated people’s rights to privacy. “The rules were approved at the village committee by our representatives, so it is perfectly legal,” he said.

China is one of a handful of countries to have laws that allow the elderly to force their adult children to take care of them.

Four decades of the draconian one-child policy in China have resulted in a dwindling workforce and a rapidly ageing population.

By 2050, 30 per cent of Chinese will be 60 or over, the UN estimates, versus 20 per cent worldwide and 10 per cent in China in 2000.