OLYMPICS / Olympic Nation

Those who can't see can surf

Updated: 2008-07-24 13:58


Have you read the news online today? Sent an e-mail? Used an online search engine? Accessibility websites ensure that disabled people are no longer excluded at a time when the Internet is indispensable to everyday life.

"The delegation to Beijing Paralympic Games is the largest in Chinese history" a gentle voice reporting the latest Olympic news to 58-year-old Beijing retiree, Shi Yuhua, which she prompts with computer keyboard Tab key.

"I though my visual disability precluded me from ever surfing the Internet," Shi, who lost her vision years ago due to measles, said.

She can now surf the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games' official website to her heart's content enjoy, thanks to the many major websites in China involved in information accessibility transformation.

The "Information Accessibility Action" event was jointly initiated early this year by China Disabled Persons' Federation (CDPF), BOCOG, Internet Society of China, China Communications Standards Association and China Foundation for Disabled Persons.

It aims to enable the visually impaired to share the latest news and information on the Beijing Games.

Participation by the CDPF and Beijing Games' official websites in the country's first batch of accessible websites enables people like Shi to listen to the information on them, with the help of screen-reader software.

Other major websites and leading Internet portals, such as Xinhua.com, CCTV.com, Sina.com, Baidu.com, and China.com have made similar adaptations.

"Helping visually impaired people to surf the Internet reflects the underlying Games' concepts of a people's Olympics and hi-tech Olympics," Tang Xiaoquan, executive vice-president of BOCOG and vice-president of CDPF, said.

"The Beijing Olympic Games boosts the development of China's information accessibility movement, which started five years ago and is still at a nascent stage. We hope more websites and companies will join in," Xi Guohua, vice-minister of the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, said.

(China Daily 07/24/2008 page6)

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