Central to Confucianism is the doctrine that an adult child has the ‘duty’ to care for his elderly parents (xiao 孝). We give indications that this duty remains robust in Chinese communities and sketch its historical underpinnings. We then explore the conjecture that the origin of filial piety is the worship of ancestors as petitioners of Shangdi. Next we elucidate the Confucian ethical vision, according to which by being aware of the moral force of Tian (天), one must try to promote ren (仁) by means of li (礼) so as to exercise de (德), in a way appropriate to a junzi (君子). Then we examine how the filial duty of care is justified by this vision via the application of the Golden Rule. We anticipate objections to this justification and suggest replies available to a Confucian.