This paper examines how parent-child relationships vary against the backdrop of socio-economic inequalities evident in China. China is both an increasingly unequal and rapidly ageing country. Understanding how the relationships that older Chinese have with their children are associated with social inequalities is therefore of paramount importance. We do this by examining the effect of socio-economic indicators of the parent and child on their relationship in a multilevel, multinomial logit model of parentchild dyads using data from the Chinese Family Panel Study. First, the relationships we observe are not unidimensional and display complex patterns which deviate heavily from a ‘strong versus weak’ description of family ties. The results do not support a family displacement perspective of parent-child relationships but instead suggest that educational and financial resources facilitate support that is associated with greater emotional closeness and negates the need for support which places an emotional strain on the parent-child relationship.