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Barrier-free policies extended to copyright

By CHENG SI | China Daily | Updated: 2023-05-12 09:38
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China is extending the concept of a barrier-free environment beyond simply provisions for physical needs.

China has just marked the first anniversary of the implementation of the Marrakesh Treaty on May 5 — the first and only human rights treaty in the field of copyright around the world — after it took effect in the nation last year.

Li Chen, a professor from the Law School of Renmin University of China, said at a forum on constructing a barrier-free environment on Thursday in Beijing that the implementation of the treaty has extended people's understanding of the barrier-free environment from only physical needs to allowing copyright exceptions for visually impaired people so they can access copyrighted books and other works.

Liu Dongxiao, an official from the China Braille Library, said at the forum that the implementation of the treaty has broken some limitations of copyrights to meet the reading needs of the visually impaired, but it will take time to improve public awareness and acceptance of cultural services for the disabled.

"It's necessary to improve cooperation and resource sharing among different service providers domestically and build up a mechanism for international cooperation. We still have technical barriers, so we hope for more help from both government bodies and society," she added.

Some legislative actions have also helped children, pregnant women, the elderly and people in need gain access to barrier-free facilities and services.

In late April, the draft law on the construction of a barrier-free environment was submitted to the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress, China's top legislature, for a second review. The draft law is open for public opinion.

"Compared with the barrier-free environment construction regulation implemented in 2012, the draft law extended its coverage from disabled people to all members of society. It's an all-round law containing design, construction and maintenance of barrier-free facilities, as well as media promotion, standards construction and supervision of the barrier-free environment," Sun Jiling, an associate professor from the Nanjing Normal University of Special Education, said at the forum in Beijing.

He hopes the law can be better promoted — for example, by sign language — to help more people learn about it.

"Building up a barrier-free environment takes time and is quite a complicated process, and I hope that the nation can apply the idea of creating a barrier-free environment to the amendments of other related laws and regulations. It's also important to enhance the supervision of law enforcement," he said.

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