Barrier-free cinema a creative step to help the blind

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Saturday marks the 31st International Day of Persons with Disabilities, which has been observed by the UN since 1992.

Among all the activities for this year, the launch of the Youku non-barrier cinema, jointly initiated by China Commission of Promotion of Publicity for the Undertakings of Chinese Disabled Persons (CCPPUCDP) and Alibaba group is of special significance. According to reports, anyone with a visual disability could register their identity, log in, and enjoy all the non-barrier films in the online cinema oeuvre.

It should be noted that over 17 million people suffer from visual disabilities in China alone. For those with discerning eyes, it is hard to imagine the disappointment of those with visual disabilities who know there is a new film but cannot watch it fully.

That's how barrier-free films emerged, namely broadcasting the original film in a hall, where an orator explains its storyline simultaneously to the visually impaired audience. It is always easier said than done as the narrator often has to watch the film more than once before the performance, so as to get familiar with the story and be able to retell it smoothly; funds are needed to rent a hall big enough to support audiences and work needs to be done to spread the news to all the targeted audiences with visual disabilities.

That's why most domestic barrier-free film studios are of public-interest. Only with the support from institutions such as China Disabled People's Federation (CDPF) could barrier-free film studios flourish and help more volunteers.

New media technologies have made it possible to let more people with visual disabilities enjoy the show. A barrier-free cinema hall could only support maybe 300 visually disabled audiences at the most, but a barrier-free film online could be heard by maybe 3 million. That has lowered the threshold for barrier-free films, thus enabling more of the visually impaired community to enjoy films and enrich their daily lives.

The introduction of excellent non-barrier films, such as The Wandering Earth and Dying to Survive, the number of which exceeds 100 in total, also makes it possible for those with visual disabilities to enjoy film. It is expected that the number will continue to grow, while more new films will join, so that one day visually impaired people can enjoy cinema at the same time it is released.

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