CHINA Podcast: Story in the Story (8/29/2019 Thu.)

CHINA

Podcast: Story in the Story (8/29/2019 Thu.)

People's Daily app

00:40, August 29, 2019

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From the People's Daily app.

And this is Story in the Story.

China has made huge improvements in safeguarding education and employment of disabled citizens, according to a white paper released by the State Council Information Office.

The white paper, which reviews the country's achievements in welfare of the disabled since its founding 70 years ago, said it has done its utmost to ensure that compulsory and continued education are available to students with disabilities.

The report said 666,000 such students studied in special schools last year, an increase of 298,000 people, or 81 percent since 2013.

China had 19,475 such students in secondary vocational schools or classes nationwide last year, and 62,200 special needs students made it to mainstream colleges between 2012 and 2018.

Today’s Story in the Story looks at the huge gains made in schooling and jobs for people who have special needs in China.

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The white paper, titled "Equality, Participation and Sharing: 70 Years of Protecting the Rights and Interests of Persons with Disabilities in the PRC," is released by the State Council Information Office, July 25, 2019. (Photo: China Daily)   


Zhang Haidi, a wheelchair-bound female writer and chairperson of the China Disabled Persons' Federation, said that China has worked over the last few decades to make sure disabled people have the same rights to education as their able-bodied counterparts.

Now special needs students can attend schools in multiple ways, including in mainstream schools, special schools or at home with government-financed tutors or online courses, she said.

"Financially strapped students can attend school free of tuition," she said.

Zhang said the group also has more job opportunities thanks to better legal protections, more policy support and training programs.

She said that as a disabled person, she has witnessed and experienced real changes in the past decades.

Recalling that in the 1960s she was refused by most primary schools and had no means to obtain a wheelchair as a teenager. Zhang, now 64, lauded the development of the country's education and rehabilitation services for persons with disabilities.

More than 80 laws and 50 administrative regulations have been passed concerning protection of the rights and interests of people with disabilities, according to the white paper.

A number of policies, including tax breaks, have been rolled out to encourage employers to hire disabled workers, it said.

The document said that last year, 850 national or provincial-level vocational training centers were built nationwide for disabled people, and 367,000 additional registered disabled people found jobs.

A total of more than 9.4 million registered disabled people were employed as of last year.

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The white paper is released by the State Council Information Office, July 25, 2019. (Photo: China Daily)   

Despite progress, the white paper said there is still a huge gap between the lives led by those with special needs and the lives to which they aspire.

"China will continue to improve the mechanisms for ensuring their rights and interests -- eliminating discrimination, fully respecting and guaranteeing their human rights, improving their wellbeing, enhancing their ability to improve their situation, and ensuring that they are able to participate in the country's development process and share the ensuing gains as equals," it said.

Hu Kaihong, spokesman for the State Council Information Office, said that in the past 70 years, China has made efforts to protect the needs of the disabled and help them become contributors to and beneficiaries of economic development.

"China has discovered a development path for promoting disability rights and interests with Chinese characteristics," he said.

Hu said China has 85 million disabled citizens, the largest such group worldwide, and therefore faces huge challenges.

The programs of persons with disabilities have received increasing financial support in the past decades, said the white paper.

Disabled persons' federations across the nation spent 57.36 billion yuan ($8.35 billion) on their programs during the 11th Five-year Plan period (2006-2010), and the figure grew to 145.12 billion yuan during the 12th Five-year Plan period (2011-2015), an increase of 153 percent.

The investment was 41.67 billion yuan in 2016, the first year of the 13th Five-year Plan period (2016-2020), an increase of 24.15 billion, or 138 percent, compared with the first year (2011) during the 12th Five-year Plan period.

In 2018, another 367,000 persons with certified disabilities were employed, according to the white paper.

"They enjoy social assistance, welfare and insurance benefits according to regulations, and lead a higher-quality life with a greater sense of gain," the white paper said.

(Produced by Nancy Yan Xu, Brian Lowe, Lance Crayon and Paris Yelu Xu. Music by: bensound.com. Text from China Daily and China Plus.)


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