China has a long way to go before achieving development of the well-being of disabled people and society as a whole, according to Deng Pufang, chairman of the China Disabled Persons Federation.
Deng made the remarks Tuesday at a press conference in Beijing sponsored by the State Council Information Office regarding the September 6-27 tour by the China Disabled People's Performing Arts Troupes.
The troupe headed by Deng will stage a large music dance performance under the title of "My Dream" in the United States.
Talking about handicapped people in China, Deng said disabled persons need to readjust to develop and succeed in market competition.
Meanwhile, he urged society to help the handicapped with difficulties because their living standard is lower than the country's average.
China has 60 million disabled persons, 5 percent of its total population, who now live in 18 percent of Chinese families.
With the assistance of the government, over 6 million disabled people have recovered to a certain degree.
In 1999, 76 percent of handicapped children studied in school, compared with less than 6 percent in 1987.
More than 2.5 million disabled were taught professional skills and more than 1.5 million of them have been employed by units, Deng said.
Furthermore, over 1 million handicapped people have opened businesses under the help of the government. In 1999, 80 percent of disabled people worked, compared with 49 percent in 1987.
According to Deng, the government has allocated special funds to assist the handicapped persons under the poverty line. To date, more than 9 million poor disabled people in rural areas have bidden farewell to poverty through labor.