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White Paper Pats China On Back For Human Rights Progress
March 30, 2004

BEIJING, CHINA--The government of China did a great deal in 2003 to advance the rights of its citizens with disabilities, according to a human rights white paper published Tuesday by the State Council's Information Office.

A section dealing with issues facing people with disabilities were included in the report, entitled "Progress in China's Human Rights Cause in 2003".

The report noted that the government is working to implement its "Outline of the Tenth Five-Year Plan for the Disabled in China (2001-2005)", which includes "improving the legal system, implementing state programs, mobilizing social forces and providing equal opportunities . . . to give special help to the disabled, establish and gradually improve the system for the protection of human rights of the disabled, encourage them to participate in social life on an equal footing, and share the material and cultural achievements of society."

The white paper went on to boast about the increase in the number of special education schools and specialized programs in "ordinary" schools; specialized employment "entities"; sports programs for athletes with disabilities; and social service programs.

The report cited government statistics which estimated that there are 60 million people with disabilities in China, accounting for about 5 percent of the total population of 1.2 billion.

It should be noted that the United Nations estimated recently that 10 percent of the world's population has disabilities. The U.S. Census in 2000 estimated that over 50 million people in the United States have disabilities, amounting to nearly 20 percent of the nation's 280 million inhabitants.

"Rights and interests of the disabled well protected in China" (People's Daily Online)
"Progress in China's Human Rights Cause in 2003" (Information Office of the State Council of the People's Republic of China)


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