The different family propaganda disseminated by the leading parties during parents’ youth might have contributed to these particular modes of division of labour within the household in China and Taiwan. The prevalence of boarding schools in China compared to Taiwan additionally reinforced the different degrees of my interlocutors’ autonomy from parents. In Taiwan, young people mostly lived with their families at least until entering higher education, regardless of their urban or rural background. Of particular concern in this context were the different conceptualizations of separation in China and Taiwan. Nevertheless, whereas the realization of filial duties might have looked different among young Chinese and Taiwanese, both sets of interlocutors appeared highly aware of their responsibilities towards ageing parents. Although the Chinese and Taiwanese societies share many commonalities that are reflected in the life goals and aspirations of young people, their different political and economic realities decisively impact on whether and how these aspirations can be pursued.