More than 20 years ago, I suffered from a rare retinal disease. In just half a year, my vision collapsed and I was almost blind.
I was admitted to university at the age of 15, and then went to the Chinese Academy of Sciences to study as a graduate student. I am a role model for children in the village and the pride of my parents.
But before I even had time to look to the future, I encountered the unexpected eye disease. It depressed me and I returned to my hometown in Shandong Province to start another life.
Eyes are a window to the heart. Losing eyesight does not mean losing everything.
After wandering in the darkness, I looked for a way out and went to the Beijing School for the Blind as a special education teacher. There I came into contact with screen-reading software.
At the very beginning, I was not used to it. After all, listening and watching are different activities.
After gaining proficiency, I could use the computer like a normal person. I use the computer to prepare lessons and learn more about the world. It’s as if I have opened a new window.
In recent years, the mobile internet has developed rapidly and a mobile phone can aid travel all over the world. Like ordinary net users, I can make chat with friends on social media, place an online shopping order with one click and walk to the bus station listening to the navigation.
I can immerse myself in electronic books. The Communist Party of China, the government and all sectors of society have begun to take into account the special needs of the visually impaired and transform websites and mobile applications so that we can freely integrate into internet life.
I am very grateful and hope that more companies will pay attention to this and participate in construction of barrier-free information. We are eager for new technology which brings us closer to the times. I am fortunate that neither society nor new technologies have left us behind.
After I transferred to the China Blind Association and communicated with blind friends from all over the world, I understood the significance of information technology for the visually impaired. Through training, we are helping the visually impaired to understand the accessibility of information and learn to use mobile phones.
After my job stabilized, my father came to live in Beijing for a while. Seeing that my work and life are little different from those of a normal person, he feels relaxed.
I don't know what the years have carved on my father's face, but I know that this hard-won life is the result of social progress and personal efforts, and he is happy to see it.
(The writer is the president of the China Blind Association. Words were collected by Yu Sinan and translated by Luo Meiqi)