IM this article to a friend!

March 30, 2004

Rights and interests of the disabled well protected in China

From: People's Daily, China - Mar 30, 2004

The Chinese government puts great stress on the protection of the rights of the disabled, and is going all out to implement the "Outline of the Tenth Five-Year Plan for the Disabled in China (2001-2005)," said a white paper on Progress in China's Human Rights Cause in 2003 issued Tuesday by the Information Office of China's State Council.

There are 60 million disabled people in China, accounting for about 5 percent of the total population. By taking important measures such as improving the legal system, implementing state programs, mobilizing social forces and providing equal opportunities, the Chinese government endeavors to give special help to the disabled, establish and gradually improve the system for the protection of human rights of the disabled, encourage them to participate in social life on an equal footing, and share the material and cultural achievements of society.

The state will continuously improve its socialized rehabilitation service system, implement the key rehabilitation projects, and help disabled people to improve their physical functions, self-reliance in daily life, and social adaptability, said the white paper. In 2003, a large number of disabled people overcame their handicaps to varying degrees.

The Chinese government has included education for handicapped children in the state compulsory education system, and implemented such education according to overall planning. Currently, the number of special education schools for blind, deaf and mentally handicapped children has reached 1,655, and that of special education classes attached to ordinary schools is 3,154, with a total student body of 577,000 in both. In 2003, more than 3,000 disabled students were admitted to institutions of higher learning.

Moreover, the government protects the rights of the disabled to labor and social security. According to statistics, 1.09 million disabled people are employed in urban entities specially set up for the handicapped. The rate of employment for the disabled has increased year by year.

At present, there are 2.59 million disabled people in China who benefit from the minimum living standard program. Four hundred and forty thousand disabled people live in welfare homes or homes for the aged, or enjoy the government-sponsored "five guarantees" (of food, clothing, medical care, housing and burial expenses) program,or live at separate homes of residents having regular links with welfare homes or homes for the aged. Some 2.46 million disabled people receive temporary relief or subsidies and 1.03 million are covered by social security schemes.

The cultural and sports life of the disabled has become increasingly rich and active. Nationwide, 1,618 cultural venues for the disabled and 131 art troupes made up of disabled people have been established. A national comprehensive sports training center for the disabled is being in preparation for construction. In 2003, China successfully held the Sixth National Sports Meet for the Disabled. Besides, disabled athletes from China have won 177 gold medals in important international sports meets.

The state endeavors to create a social environment of care and help for the disabled, said the white paper. The National Help-the-Disabled Day, the third Sunday of May each year, has been observed for 13 years, with a rich variety of activities. A large number of sloping passages, paths for the blind, handrails and audio traffic signs and other facilities for the disabled persons' convenience have been either built or renovated on the major roads, in shopping centers, hospitals, hotels, cinemas, theaters, museums, airports, railway stations and residential areas in the large and medium-sized cities.

For years, the great efforts and achievements made by China for the protection of the human rights of the disabled have won wide attention and appreciation from the United Nations and the international community, said the white paper.

Copyright by People's Daily Online, all rights reserved