Deng Pufang, president of the China Disabled Persons' Federation, yesterday promised the country's 60 million disabled people a more affluent lifestyle, as well as better support, over the next five years.
"We will help another 12 million rural disabled people who are still destitute to live a better life by the end of 2005. We want to see a rise in the employment rate of disabled people to 85 per cent,'' he said.
"Meanwhile, special recuperative projects will allow 5.1 million more people to recover from illnesses,'' he added.
Deng made the remarks at the opening session of China's National Work Conference on the Disabled, which is scheduled to end on Monday in Beijing.
The conference is held once every five years to review work in the field over the previous five years and to lay out tasks for the following five.
The paramount goal, according to Deng, is "to create equal opportunities for the disabled to participate in society.''
Central government and the association pledge to enhance social awareness in caring for the disabled, increase financial support and ensure more disabled people are educated.
Relieving poverty among disabled people, as well as providing basic social security, should be given special priority.
One big project to be launched soon will equip every municipality and county with at least one home for the disabled to provide comprehensive care, education, and job training.
Li Ruihuan, honorary president of the association and chairman of the National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference, praised the country's achievements in this field in the past five years, saying there has been a considerable improvement in disabled people's lives.
In the past five years,4.3 million disabled people have been given help to recuperated and live in society, 44 percent more than the original plan.
The number of disabled children being educated has jumped from 62.5 percent in 1995 to 77 per cent last year. Over 90 percent of disabled students passed exams and have studied at university.
A 10 percent increase was also achieved in the employment rate of the country's disabled population. Of the 13.27 million rural disabled who were helped back to work, 8.29 million can now feed themselves.
Even more to be proud of is the artistic and sports activities achieved by the disabled. The country's disabled artists have won wide recognition abroad and disabled Chinese athletes have won a total of 386 gold medals at international contests.
(China Daily 04/14/2001)