VI. Rights and Interests of People with Disabilities
China is working hard to develop services for people with disabilities, to solve their difficulties, and to guarantee their legitimate rights.
The state is actively improving laws and regulations to protect the rights and interests of people with disabilities. The Law on the Protection of Persons with Disabilities, revised on April 24, 2008, strengthened the legal system for protecting the rights and interests of people with disabilities. In 2009 the state issued the Measures for Air Transport of Persons with Disabilities, stipulating detailed measures for the rights of this group in the field of air transport. At present, the Chinese legislature is working on the Regulations on the Construction of Non-barrier Facilities, Regulations on Disability Prevention and Rehabilitation of Persons with Disabilities, and national standards for classifying disabilities. In December 2009, China revised the Regulations on the Application for and Use of Motor Vehicle Driving Licenses, loosening the restrictions on the physical conditions of drivers, and making it possible for some of the disabled to drive motor vehicles. In 2009 China set up the first batch of 56 workstations that provide legal aid to people with disabilities.
China has improved the social security and service systems for people with disabilities. In 2009 the state formulated the Guiding Opinions on Accelerating the Building of the Social Security and Service Systems for People with Disabilities, and 30 provinces, autonomous regions and municipalities directly under the central government issued opinions on how to implement the Guiding Opinions. In 2009 a pilot project for a new rural pension insurance system was carried out in China, requiring local governments to pay part or the total amount of the minimum pension insurance premium for rural people with severe disabilities and other groups with difficulty paying this type of insurance premiums.
China is working hard to improve rehabilitation services for people with disabilities. In 2009 some 6.2 million people with disabilities were rehabilitated to different degrees, and 2,376 municipal districts and counties (county-level cities) carried out rehabilitation in communities, enabling 9.844 million people with disabilities to enjoy rehabilitation services in their communities. In addition, the government provided 1.122 million items of assistance equipment for people with disabilities, including 598,000 pieces of the equipment given for free to those poor people with disabilities. The state invested 711 million yuan in an emergency rehabilitation project for poor children with disabilities, which benefited nearly 60,000 children. Meanwhile, the state carried out a project for training rehabilitation professionals, turning out over 2,200 managerial and technical personnel in this field and nearly 130,000 coordinators for community rehabilitation.
China constantly develops education for people with disabilities. In 2009 the Chinese government issued the Opinions on Accelerating the Development of Special Education. The Opinions states clearly that the government will accelerate the development of special education, particularly high-school education and higher education with focus on vocational education for people with disabilities. This has effectively expanded the scope of compulsory education for people with disabilities. Given the weaknesses in special education, the Opinions puts forward measures such as improving the mechanism for guaranteeing special education funds, strengthening faculty building, enhancing the classroom performance of students, and using all means to eliminate illiteracy among young and middle-aged people. Compulsory education for children and teenagers with disabilities is being steadily promoted. The state has so far provided occupational training sessions for 785,000 persons with disabilities, and institutions of higher learning have enrolled 7,782 students with disabilities.
More and better public services for people with disabilities are provided. By 2009 there were 3,474 homes for people with disabilities in China, where 110,000 disabled people were taken care of. The state helped 1.085 million impoverished rural people with disabilities to shake off poverty, and helped 102,000 poor families with one or more disabled members to renovate their houses, benefiting 140,000 people with disabilities. From 2009 to 2011 the state is to earmark 200 million yuan each year to subsidize agencies that provide services for working-age people with mental or severe physical disabilities. In 2009 the state helped 350,000 urban residents with disabilities to find employment, bringing the number of employed urban residents with disabilities to 4.434 million. At the same time, the number of employed rural residents with disabilities reached 17.57 million.
China also makes efforts to enrich the lives of disabled people in the cultural and sports areas. In 2009 China held the Seventh National Variety Performance by People with Disabilities, in which 30,000 candidates were selected and 4,000 performers and related staff members took part. In 2009 the state issued the Regulations on National Fitness, clearly specifying disabled people's rights to take part in physical exercises and sporting events. Chinese athletes with disabilities have participated in 19 international events, including the 21st Deaflympics, the 9th Special Olympics World Winter Games, the Paralympic World Cup held in Great Britain, the Tokyo 2009 Asian Youth Para Games, and the World Wheelchair and Amputee Games, and won 158 gold medals. China has held 14 national games for disabled people, involving 5,000 athletes. The Special Olympics has developed steadily in China, and the number of its Special Olympics athletes has reached 900,000.
China is constantly improving the environment for people with disabilities to take part in social life. It has established a special column titled "Services for people with disabilities" on the Central Government's official web portal (www.gov.cn). China has also set up a state-level digital library for people with visual impairment (www.cdlvi.cn). Meanwhile, it has made new progress in constructing non-barrier facilities: 100 cities are working to build themselves into non-barrier cities, making sure people with disabilities have non-barrier access to the main streets, shopping malls, hospitals, hotels, cinemas, museums, airports, bus stations, railway stations and other public buildings, as well as residential buildings, paving the way for people with disabilities to go out confidently and fully engage in social life. The government and all sectors of society are promoting humanitarianism, and urge people to understand, respect, care for and help people with disabilities.