Protecting the Rights and Interests of Persons with Disabilities in the PRC
II. Mechanisms for the Protection of Rights and Interests of Persons with Disabilities
China will continue to include the programs of persons with disabilities into the national development strategy, and strengthen the legal protection of their rights and interests, and improve the support system for them and the mechanisms for ensuring their rights and interests.
Integrating the programs of persons with disabilities into the national development strategy. Since 1991, programs of persons with disabilities have been included into the overall plan for national economic and social development. From the 11th to the 13th five-year plans, there have been special sections titled "protecting the rights and interests of persons with disabilities", "accelerating the programs of persons with disabilities", and "improving services to and protection of persons with disabilities" in these plans. The State Council has released seven five-year development plans for persons with disabilities, making overall arrangements for the protection of their rights and interests. To further define the tasks and responsibility list for the protection of persons with disabilities, China has issued "Instructions of the State Council on Accelerating the Process Toward Prosperity for Persons with Disabilities", "Outline for Accelerating the Process Toward Prosperity for Persons with Disabilities in the 13th Five-year Plan Period", "Plan for Promoting Equal Access to Basic Public Services in the 13th Five-year Plan Period", "The National Disability Prevention Program (2016-2020)", and two documents of "Special Education Promotion Plan", for 2014-2016 and 2017-2020 respectively. Launched in 2009, the three documents of the "National Human Rights Action Plan" for 2009-2010, 2011-2015, and 2016-2020 specified the tasks and goals of this mission.
Law-based protection of rights and interests of persons with disabilities. A legal system is now in place in China with the Constitution of the People's Republic of China as basis, the Law of the People's Republic of China on the Protection of Persons with Disabilities as its mainstay. It is taken to a further level of detail in the Regulations on Disability Prevention and Rehabilitation of Persons with Disabilities, Regulations on the Education of Persons with Disabilities, Regulations on the Employment of Persons with Disabilities, and Regulations on the Building of an Accessible Environment. By April 2018, more than 80 laws and 50 administrative regulations had been passed concerning the protection of the rights and interests of persons with disabilities.
The Constitution of the People's Republic of China explicitly specifies that all citizens, including persons with disabilities, have the right to vote and to stand for election in accordance with the law. The Law on the Protection of Persons with Disabilities provides that persons with disabilities shall enjoy the same economic, political, cultural, social and family rights as other citizens. The Electoral Law of the National People's Congress and Local People's Congresses contains special provisions concerning the election rights of persons with disabilities, requiring that assistance be provided to facilitate their participation in elections. In 2018, over 5,000 persons with disabilities, relatives of this group, and personnel working for them were deputies to the people's congresses and members of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) above the county level.
The state has taken measures to ensure the equal rights of persons with disabilities to participate in public affairs. The Standing Committee of the National People's Congress (NPC) has carried out inspections on the implementation of the Law on the Protection of Persons with Disabilities to improve the protection of their lawful rights and interests. The CPPCC National Committee has held various consultative conferences for the same goal. The Supreme People's Court, the Supreme People's Procuratorate, and the CDPF have built a joint working mechanism to this end. The Ministry of Public Security has acted with resolution against illegal criminal acts infringing upon the legal rights and interests of persons with disabilities. The 12385 service hotline for persons with disabilities has been launched nationwide, and an online petition platform is also available to expand the channels for these people to express their concerns.
Prioritizing a public legal service system for persons with disabilities. The Supreme People's Court and eight other departments have jointly issued the "Directives on Strengthening Legal Aid for Persons with Disabilities", and set up a leading group to guide local departments in building legal aid centers. The Supreme People's Court requires that people's courts at all levels open up green channels for persons with disabilities, give them priority, provide them with convenient legal services, and create barrier-free facilities in courts. The Ministry of Justice released the "Directives on Improving Public Legal Services for Persons with Disabilities in the 13th Five-year Plan Period" to expand the scope of these services, including legal aid, and to strengthen criminal legal aid for these people.
By 2018, more than 2,600 legal aid centers and more than 2,600 service windows for persons with disabilities had been set up across the nation. And 1,814 legal aid stations had been built by disabled persons' federations at all levels. From 2014 to 2018, a total of 312,000 persons with disabilities benefited from legal aid services, and 1,242,000 received legal advice from legal aid organizations.
Improving the support system for persons with disabilities. To provide better protection to persons with disabilities, we have formed a support system in which the CPC Party committees take the lead, the government takes responsibilities, the public gives support, and disabled persons' organizations play an important role. In March 2008, the "Directives of the CPC Central Committee and the State Council on Promoting the Cause of Persons with Disabilities" was released, which stipulates the general requirements for this work. The State Council Working Committee on Disability was set up by leaders from 34 ministries, departments and organizations to coordinate the formulation and implementation of guidelines, policies, regulations and programs made by the State Council in relation to persons with disabilities, and to address major problems in this regard. The member units of this committee are assigned duties to meet this goal.
The people's governments above the county level have set up their own committees to develop programs of persons with disabilities. As the bridge and the bond between the Party, the government, and persons with disabilities, the CDPF and its local branches employ to the full their capacity to represent, manage and serve the interests of this group. The Labor Union, the Communist Youth League, the Women's Federation, and the Association for the Elderly apply their strength to safeguard the lawful rights and interests of workers, youth, women, children and the elderly with disabilities. The Red Cross Society, Charity Society, and China Foundation for Disabled Persons help to raise money and collect donations for those with disabilities. Enterprises and public institutions shoulder their responsibilities to play their part in helping these people.
Full development of disabled persons' federations. The CDPF is a legitimate organization approved by the State Council. It is composed of persons with disabilities, their relatives, and personnel working for them. It represents and safeguards the legitimate rights and interests of persons with disabilities, and aims to unite, help and serve them. It performs duties assigned by law, undertakes tasks entrusted by the government, and manages and develops programs of persons with disabilities. The highest authority of the CDPF is the National Congress, which is held every five years. By 2018, a total of 42,000 disabled persons' federations had been set up across the nation (with the exception of Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps and Heilongjiang Reclamation Area). The CDPF takes leadership over the China Association of Persons with Visual Disabilities, the China Association of Persons with Hearing Disabilities, the China Association of Persons with Physical Disabilities, the China Association of Persons with Intellectual Disabilities and Their Relatives, and the China Association of Persons with Psychiatric Disabilities and Their Relatives. By 2018, a total of 16,000 branches of these associations at provincial, prefectural (municipal) and county levels were in place.
Improving data collection and census mechanisms for persons with disabilities. In order to optimize management and fine-tune services, China has strengthened processes for gathering data on persons with disabilities, and for regulating and improving the statistical indicators for the protection of their rights and interests. It has established systems for monitoring disability at the national and provincial levels, for gathering data and monitoring indicators, and for collecting comprehensive statistical forms from all departments and all regions and having them submitted regularly to higher-level authorities for review. Two national surveys on disability in 1987 and 2006 gave us a clearer picture of this group and of the protection of their human rights. Since 2015, surveys have been carried out on their basic services and demands, and on public services available to them at the community level. Databases have been built, and data shared among relevant departments of the government. In 2018, dynamic information on the services accessible to and demands of 33.08 million persons with disability certificates, and information on service facilities for persons with disabilities in 690,000 villages (communities) was gathered.
A marked increase in financial support to programs of persons with disabilities.
· Disabled persons' federations across the nation spent RMB57.36 billion on programs for helping these people during the 11th Five-year Plan period (2006-2010).
· The figure grew to RMB145.12 billion during the 12th Five-year Plan period (2011-2015), an increase of 153 percent.
· The investment was RMB41.67 billion in 2016, the first year of the 13th Five-year Plan period (2016-2020), an increase of RMB24.15 billion, or 138 percent, compared with the first year (2011) during the 12th Five-year Plan period.
· From 2013 to 2017, the fiscal allocations from all levels of the government for persons with disabilities added up to over RMB180 billion, up by 123 percent over the prior five years.
· In 2018, 4,069 service facilities were in place.