Government Action on Disability Policy
A Global Survey
Part II - Government Replies as Country Profiles
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© Dimitris Michailakis 1997
China Disabled Persons Federation (15 March 1996)
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The officially recognized disability policy in China is expressed in law, in guidelines adopted by the Government, in guidelines adopted by a national disability council, in policy adopted by political parties, and in policy adopted by NGOs. The emphasis - in descending scale - is on anti-discrimination law, rehabilitation, prevention, accessibility measures, individual support.
Since the adoption of the Rules the Government has taken the following actions to convey the message of full participation: Dissemination of the Rules; Donation of 10,000 USD each year in support of the Special Rapporteur; Integration of the Rules into the National Working Programme; Launching the Asian and Pacific Decade of Disabled Persons; and Promotion of the Rules in mass media.
The rights of persons with disabilities are protected by a combination of special and general legislation. The judicial mechanisms adopted to protect the rights of persons with disabilities are: due process (legal remedy through courts) and recourse procedure by a special agency dealing with anti-discrimination issues. Administrative and other non-judicial bodies include: an Ombudsman, a Governmental body (administrative) and a special arbitration/conciliation body.
The general legislation applies to persons with different disabilities with respect to: education, employment, the right to marriage, the right to parenthood/family, political rights, access to court-of-law, right to privacy, property rights. The following benefits are guaranteed by law to persons with disabilities: health and medical care, training, rehabilitation and counselling, financial security, employment, independent living, and participation in decisions affecting them.
Since the adoption of the Rules, Regulations on Education of Disabled Persons and Local Laws in 29 provinces were enacted.
There are laws and regulations ensuring accessibility of the build environment requiring that public places and the outdoor environment are made accessible. Accessibility in the build environment is observed by national authority, local Governments and disabled persons' organizations. The following measures have been promoted by the Government to facilitate accessibility: levelling off pavements, ensuring access to public places, and provision of specially adapted motor vehicles. Special transport arrangements include the following: urban public transport is free for the blind; buses are provided for disabled persons available for medical treatment, education, work and recreational purpose. In addition, public transportation is free for the blind, wherever they are traveling. When planning to build accessible environments the most difficult obstacles are: attitudinal factors, economic/budgetary factors, geographical and climatic factors. There is a disability awareness component incorporated in the training of planners, architects and construction engineers.
Sign language for deaf people is recognized as the official language of deaf people and is used as the first language in education of deaf people. Furthermore the Government is active for promoting a unified Chinese sign language. There are Government measures for encouraging media and other forms of public information to make their services accessible. The following measures are provided to facilitate information and communication between persons with disabilities and others: literature in Braille/tape, news magazines on tape/Braille, sign language interpretation, and easy readers for persons with mental disabilities.
Organizations of persons with disabilities
There is a national umbrella organization where all associations of all disability groups are represented, such as the blind, the deaf, the physically, mentally, and psychologically disabled. Legal provisions mandate the representatives of persons with disabilities to participate in policy-making and to work with Governmental institutions. Organizations are always consulted when laws and regulations with a disability aspect are being prepared. Consultations take place at the national level. The Government gives financial and organizational/logistic support to existing or new organizations of persons with disabilities. Persons with disabilities participate to a great extent in Government, legislature, judiciary, political parties and NGOs. The organizations have the role to: advocate rights and improved services, mobilize persons with disabilities, identify needs and priorities, participate in the planning, implementation and evaluation of services and measures, contribute to public awareness, provide services, and promote/organize income generating activities. In addition, the organizations represent and serve disabled persons, also taking the administrative responsibility concerning disability issues.
Co-ordination of work
The national co-ordinating committee is reporting to the State Council. The committee includes representatives of many Ministries, from organizations of persons with disabilities, and from other NGOs. The Government expects the committee to participate in policy development but it is not expected to perform other tasks. The establishment of the co-ordinating committee has had the following effects: improved co-ordination of measures/programmes in the disability filed, improved legislation, improved integration of responsibility, a better dialogue in the disability field, more accurate planning, more effective use of resources, and improved promotion of public awareness.
The Standard Rules are in line with the national disability policy. The adoption of the Rules strengthen the national legislation and promote the implementation of the policies.
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