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Protecting the Rights and Interests of Persons with Disabilities in the PRC

China Daily | Updated: 2019-07-26 07:55
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VIII. Personal Freedom and Non-Discrimination

China prohibits any forms of disability discrimination. It has drawn up specific measures to protect the right to life and personal freedom of persons with disabilities and ensure that they enjoy equal rights as other citizens.

Personal rights of persons with disabilities are fully protected by laws. In China, the Criminal Law, General Provisions of the Civil Law, Tort Law, Marriage Law, Law on the Protection of Minors, Labor Contract Law, Mental Health Law, Anti-domestic Violence Law and many other laws define the personal rights of persons with disabilities and stipulate the punishments for maltreating, abandoning, or maliciously injuring them. The Law of the People's Republic of China on the Protection of Persons with Disabilities makes full and detailed provisions for their personal rights and defines measures to protect them.

Efforts have been made to adjust mechanisms for protecting the personal freedom of those with disabilities.

The state has abolished the system to shelter and send back vagrants and beggars-including those with disabilities-to their homes, but provides assistance to them in line with their own free choice. The practice of isolating lepers from family or community has been abrogated. The central government has established a nationwide program to subsidize local governments for the management and treatment of serious mental illnesses, so as to register, report and rehabilitate such patients through medical treatment and follow-up.

Action has been stepped up against crimes that violate the personal freedom of persons with disabilities. The Law of the People's Republic of China on the Protection of Persons with Disabilities forbids any entity or individual to force any person with disability to work by means of violence, threat or illegal restriction of personal freedom. The Amendment VI to the Criminal Law of the People's Republic of China adds a crime of "organizing any disabled person or any minor to go begging", and the Amendment IX to the Criminal Law adds a clause defining the criminal responsibility borne by anyone with a duty to ward or nurse a disabled person who maltreats the person under his or her guardianship or provides improper care. The Supreme People's Court and the CDPF jointly issued the "Directives on Effectively Protecting the Lawful Rights and Interests of Persons with Disabilities in Trial and Enforcement" and other regulatory documents, requiring stiff punishments in accordance with the law for crimes that violate the rights and interests of these people, so as to effectively ensure their safety and protect their property. The Supreme People's Procuratorate and other departments issued the "Directives on Effectively Protecting the Lawful Rights and Interests of Persons with Disabilities in Procuratorial Work", requiring severe punishments in accordance with the law for crimes like forcing persons with intellectual disabilities to labor or trafficking disabled women and children. The Ministry of Public Security launched a special campaign against crimes that force or lure disabled minors to beg or deaf juveniles to commit crimes. The Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security also initiated a special effort to control illegal employment.

Laws have been enacted to prohibit any forms of disability discrimination. China's laws and regulations contain detailed provisions to combat discrimination and ensure reasonable accommodation. The Employment Promotion Law of the People's Republic of China adopted in 2007 stipulates that an employer recruiting staff must not discriminate persons with disabilities. The Law of the People's Republic of China on the Protection of Persons with Disabilities revised in 2008 defines the principle of anti-discrimination: "Discrimination on the basis of disability shall be prohibited. Insult of and disservice to persons with disabilities shall be prohibited. Disparagement of and infringement upon the dignity of persons with disabilities by means of mass media or any other means shall be prohibited." Since 2010, China has enacted the Mental Health Law, Regulations on Disability Prevention and Rehabilitation of Persons with Disabilities, and Measures for the Administration of Air Transport for Persons with Disabilities, and revised the Regulations on the Education of Persons with Disabilities and Regulations on the Employment of Persons with Disabilities, all of which include detailed clauses to combat discrimination.

IX. Creating a Good Social Environment

China advocates core socialist values and the concepts of "equality, participation and sharing", carries forward China's traditional virtues and humanitarianism, and cultivates awareness of helping people with disabilities as part of the effort to create a social environment in which persons with disabilities are cared for, and the programs to help them are promoted.

The cultural activities of persons with disabilities are thriving. The Public Cultural Service Guarantee Law of the People's Republic of China and the "Plan for Promoting Equal Access to Basic Public Services in the 13th Five-year Plan Period" have included the cultural service programs for those with disabilities into the national cultural service system.

Measures have been taken across the country to ensure accessibility to cultural products and services for persons with disabilities, enabling them to appreciate TV programs, films and dramas. The Ministry of Culture and Tourism and CDPF have held an annual cultural week for persons with disabilities for several years. In 2018, over 1.2 million people with disabilities took part in such activities.

Art troupes of persons with disabilities are growing fast; their number has increased to 283, employing about 300,000 disabled art workers. During the three years since the launch of the Charity Performance Tours and Exhibitions, a total of 170,000 persons with disabilities have taken part in the initiative. The National Disability Art Festival is held every four years. By 2017, it had been held nine times, attracting over 100,000 to participate each year. Designated as UNESCO Artist for Peace, the China Disabled People's Performing Art Troupe has visited 100 countries and regions for performance and exchanges; the Thousand-hand Bodhisattva dance enjoys prestige throughout the world.

From 2011 to 2018, the central budget allocated about RMB12 million to launch the project of "Enriching the Community Culture for Persons with Disabilities" in cities, setting up reading sections and supplying cultural products for them. Books for people with disabilities have been added on the shopping list in the "Village Library" project. A cultural campaign has been launched for households with disabled members, particularly the 100,000 impoverished households and those with severely disabled members in the middle and western regions and rural areas. The campaign will enable each of them to read one book, watch one film, tour one park, visit one exhibition, and take part in one cultural activity every year. We have built a multi-functional Braille library and launched a digital reading project for persons with disabilities.

Sports for persons with disabilities are flourishing. Fitness and rehabilitation activities and competitive sports are making rapid progress. In 2011, a fitness program was launched to provide better guidance and service for persons with disabilities. Since 2011, the General Administration of Sport has supported the CDPF in training social sports instructors for people with disabilities. By 2017, a total of 104,000 instructors had been trained. Governments and organizations at all levels have increased investment in the building of sports venues for people with disabilities. In 2017 there were 9,053 cultural and sports venues for people with disabilities across the nation.

Shanghai Special Olympics, Beijing Paralympic Games, and Guangzhou Asia Para Games have been successful. China has succeeded in a bid for the 2022 Winter Paralympic Games. And it has attended nine summer Paralympics in which 1,337 athletes have participated, wining 433 gold, 339 silver and 250 bronze medals. They have broken 261 world records and ranked top in the gold medal tally for the last four Paralympics. China has competed in four Winter Paralympics with a total of 55 athletes, and won the first gold medal in the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Paralympic Games. China has actively taken part in Deaflympics and Special Olympics.

Social organizations of disability support are growing. Since 2012, the central budget has allocated special funds to support social organizations in providing social services, particularly for persons with disabilities. We have encouraged social organizations to streamline administration, delegate powers, innovate supervision, and improve services. We have given support to community-level social organizations in undertaking community public services and tasks entrusted by grassroots governments. And the state has improved preferential tax policies for social disability support organizations. These organizations are growing rapidly. By 2017, over 6,200 such organizations had been registered at local civil affairs departments, including 1,500 civil societies, 4,600 private non-enterprise entities and 100 foundations.

Social norms to support and help persons with disabilities have been established. Government websites have special sections for disability information and services. News media such as newspaper, radio, television and internet have wide coverage of the life of people with disabilities to help promote respect for their dignity and rights, eradicate prejudice and discrimination against them, and establish social norms to encourage the general public to understand, respect and help them. Since 1991 when the National Day for Helping Persons with Disabilities (the third Sunday in every May) was designated, 29 theme activities have been held.

Every year, public welfare activities to help people with intellectual disabilities are organized, and a variety of other activities for children with disabilities are also carried out by charity and volunteer organizations. Sporting activities, art performances, and vocational skills competitions of people with disabilities are held to celebrate their spirit of self-improvement and resilience. Nonprofit campaigns in the cultural sector have also been launched to raise the public profile of this group, such as ensuring their access to 100 libraries and museums, and to books donated by 100 publishing houses, and expanding news coverage of their stories by 100 news media.

In primary and secondary schools, able-bodied Young Pioneers are encouraged to pair with their disabled peers to learn from each other. For college students and young people, the Sunshine Action has been launched to recruit youth volunteers to help people with disabilities. The China Association of Volunteers for Persons with Disabilities has been set up to unite all social forces in providing better services for these people.

The spirit of persons with disabilities and the contribution they make is winning favor with the public. Persons with disabilities devote themselves to national development, and try to maximize the value of their contribution to society. A number of aspirant and enterprising models have emerged and won the titles of "National Model Worker" and "National Model Women Worker". The state and local governments have rewarded a large number of role models with disabilities and individuals and units of disability support. The state has held six national conferences on commending role models with disabilities and model individuals and units for helping those with disabilities, rewarding 919 "National Self-improvement Models", and 1,117 "Outstanding Units for Helping Persons with Disabilities" and "Outstanding Individuals for Helping Persons with Disabilities".

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