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Discriminatory health standards must be scrapped

China Daily | Updated: 2017-08-10 07:50

LIN CHUANHUA, a disabled resident in Lianjiang county, East China's Fujian province, applied for a local public teaching position this year. He ranked the first in the exam, but was rejected by the local education bureau because of his disability. Beijing News comments:

The local education bureau of Lianjiang responded that their higher level agency, the provincial educational department of Fujian, has set health standards that every applicant must pass and Lin's disability failed to meet the standard.

What happened in Lianjiang is not an isolated incident. Two months ago, Xiao Guangting, a visually impaired resident who has lived in Shenzhen, South China's Guangdong province, for almost 20 years, applied to register his hukou, household registration, in the city but was rejected because he could not pass the vision part of the health test. The Shenzhen hukou department also quoted its provincial health standards as an excuse.

Some lawyers have already said that such health standards are against the Law on the Protection of Disabled Persons and should be declared invalid. However, there has been no case brought, never mind any court ruling, that declares them discriminatory.

Such rigid standards are not only unfair to citizens with disabilities, they also harm the interests of society. In the Lianjiang case, Lin has already been working for six years as a physics teacher in a private school. He even headed a class and his disability never darkened his performance. He has been given the honorary title of "excellent teacher" by the school. If the private school can be fair to a teacher with disabilities, why can a public school, sponsored by taxpayers' money, not be?

It is time for the legislature to do its job of supervision. The health standards set by certain local governments are obviously discriminatory against people with disabilities, and legislatures at higher levels should review the standards and declare them invalid. More importantly, litigation in the public interests should be encouraged to better protect the legal rights of people with disabilities.

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