Academic defends China's record on disabled people

Source:Xinhua Published: 2014-1-31 16:31:45

A Chinese expert has challenged a Human Rights Watch report on disabled people in China, saying efforts to protect the disadvantaged are being deliberately ignored and distorted.

Chu Tong of Wuhan University in central China's Hubei Province, said the "World Report 2014" published by Human Rights Watch on Jan. 21 was "clumsy" regarding China's work to protect disabled people.

In an article entitled "Don't Take a Partial Watch" published on Friday, Chu summed up what China has done in recent years.

China has actively responded to and carried out proposals by the Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities since the committee reviewed China's implementation of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) in September 2012, said the article,

China has "made considerable breakthroughs" in this cause, including protection from exploitation through forced labor. The China Disabled Persons' Federation (CDPF) has preferential policies for disabled women and children, giving them priority in aid projects.

China is also building a "barrier-free" environment for disabled people, the article said. In an August guideline publicized last August, local governments were required to ensure rights to travel and facilitate easy access to information. China has also promoted employment of disabled persons and broadened avenues of employment.

Seven departments including the Organization Department of the Communist Party of China Central Committee and the CDPF issued a circular last year on positive discrimination in employment and uniform rights to apply for the civil service. At least 15 percent of disabled people should be employed in provincial-level disabled persons' federations by 2020, according to the circular.

Inclusiveness in education is stipulated as a basic principle. China's Ministry of Education has a three-year plan to offer "appropriate education" to each disabled child and ensure free education for more than 90 percent of children with vision, hearing and learning disabilities by 2016.

The article also noted efforts to set up social organizations for disabled people.

In 2013, the CDPF established a union of social organizations for disabled people to provide better service for them.

The article described the state's work as "tangible efforts which are beyond the imagination of those who can only shed empty talk".

The author urged Human Rights Watch to study China's situation more carefully before drawing conclusions.

China has more than 85 million disabled people, according to figures released in May.

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