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May 30, 2005

Top Chinese leaders show concern over orphans and disabled kids

From: People's Daily Online, China - May 30, 2005

Writing a letter to an orphan school and chatting with children with hearing problems, top Chinese leaders Wu Bangguo and Wen Jiabao expressed their sincere concerns about children ahead of International Children's Day.

Their actions have revealed the government's high regard for children, and they both called for the whole society to take concern for orphans and disabled kids.

Wu Bangguo, chairman of the Standing Committee of China's National People's Congress or China's highest parliamentary body, wrote a letter to north China's Liaoning Orphan School, addressing the school's 40 years founding anniversary, which falls on May 25.

"The country's, the society's, teacher's and schoolmate's love will provide the parenthood you lack," Wu said in his letter.

"You should study hard and serve society in the future."

"Can you hear me, little friends?" Premier Wen asked a group of deaf children aided with audiphones.

"Yes," these children answered eagerly.

He then turned to the teachers and said, "I can see they are quite confident, thanks to your considerate treatments and instructions."

This was the scene at the China Rehabilitation Research Center for Deaf Children when Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao visited on May 27 to mark the upcoming Children's Day.

"Children are the people deserving most concern from the society, especially those who are disabled and having difficulties," the Premier said.

"I didn't bring any gifts to the kids, because I think what they need are not expensive toys, flowers or cakes, they need a vivacious childhood, and the teachers here have offered them this most precious gift," Wen said.

He said China has 360 million children in its population of 1.3 billion, among which 60 million are disabled, including 20 million with hearing problems.

"China has 10 million disabled children, including 800,000 with hearing problems, and the figure increases by 23,000 every year," the Premier said.

"The society's concern over the children will lead to their increased self-confidence," he said.

The center, established in 1985, has received more than 30,000 children with hearing problems and has rehabilitated nearly 1,000 kids back to normal life.

"To some extent, the rehabilitation of deaf children refers to psychological recovery," said Wan Xuanrong, a teacher who has worked at the center for 20 years. "Despite daily language and hearing practices, we concentrate on developing children's overall mentalities."

Wan, whose own son suffered from hearing disability, gave up her original career as an artist 20 years ago to help deaf children regain hearing.

"In order to teach my son to utter the word 'mother,' I have tried more than 20,000 times," she said, explaining the difficulties in helping a deaf child speak.

"I believe children can perceive the difficulties in one's life through this process, and will grow up to be persons with perseverance," said the Premier, whose eyes glittered with tears.

"Disabled people need government support, and also the help of warm hearted people in the whole society," Wen said.

Source: Xinhua

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