In traditional Chinese society each generation cares for the one before it. This assumes many forms - from mere social expectation to actual tithes of your income to your parents.
There is some incentive to maximize a child's success in order to ensure your own retirement - after all, if they can't make ends meet, you're even worse off.
This may seem strange by western standards, but I'd caution against extrapolating this to mean that the parents don't care for their child. The parent-child relationship in Chinese society is different than it is modern American society, but parents universally care deeply about the well-being of their children.
A big caveat to all of the above is that modern, urban Chinese society is very rapidly shedding this model. There remains a sticky issue of there being a massive "lost generation" who suffered financially caring for their own parents, but due to shifting societal mores, cannot expect the same from their own children.
> This may seem strange by western standards, but I'd caution against extrapolating this to mean that the parents don't care for their child.
It shouldn't be strange by Western standards. It was the way it was in the US before WWII or so. It also works very well because it frees up what might otherwise go into retirement savings, and this gets spent on helping the kids get established instead.
I am not in China, but my wife is Chinese-Indonesian and her mother is starting to get closer to retirement, and that system, while it has transformed in urban environments like Jakarta, is still very much alive at least among the Chinese diaspora here.
> In traditional Chinese society each generation cares for the one before it.
That goes for almost every society! Pensions a typically paid out from the earnings of the current generation to the previous one, it's quite rare to have pension funds hold on to 'your' money long enough that it gets paid back out to you. Instead they pay it out immediately and when it is your turn you get it from someone that earned that money the month before.
If only pension funds would be required to be able to pay out at a minimum what you put in then the world would be in lots better shape.
Despite the very strong Chinese cultural meme that encourages care of the parents, such care usually does little to continue one's genes. In contrast expending that same effort aiding the child usually increases the likely continuation of one's genes.
China will have a serious problem with their largely-unsupported elderly.