Country Report on World Blind Union Asia Pacific Mid-Term Regional General Assembly 2014
Chinese mainland has a population of 17.31 million eyesight impaired people. With high attention attached by Chinese government and support from communities, China Association of the Blind(CAB) unites closely with local blind person’s associations, works hard towards a common goal, while blind people are self improved and full of hopes, which push forward the work on blind people’s welfare and gain great achievements.
Blind people cannot see the world, but they are not alone in the dark. Chinese government and the community have reached a common sense to understand, respect, care and support blind people, and create necessary conditions for them to enjoy an equal participation in social life. China has promulgated disabled persons protection laws like The Law of PRC on the Protection of Disabled Persons to safeguard the rights of PWDs, implemented six national five-year plans to develop the work on disability. The needs and wishes of rehabilitation, education, employment, social security, accessibility facilities and equal participation in social life are further met. China actively participates in and supports UN’s activities in the field of disability, advocates and participates in the implementation of Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities, takes lead in signing and approving it, and submits the First Report on the Implementation on UNCRPD, which was reviewed by UN Human Rights Commission.
CAB was founded in 1953, and was approved by Ministry of Civil Affairs to be a social organization with legal entity in 2006. During past 61 years, CAB safeguards the interests of the blind, represents their needs, and improves their welfare. Since 2006, CAB has entered into a new stage of development: fully implementing the function of representation, service and rights protection, entering the community more openly and positively, being the interest spokesperson, service organizer and rights protector of blind people. CAB has successively set up youth commission, women commission, blind people’s parents’ commission, and retinopathy patients’ commission, blind people reading promotion commission, and blind people piano tuning commission and other internal commissions, and also launch a series of specialized service activities.
Local blind person’s associations have been gradually established, and among 33 provinces, autonomous regions and municipalities, 90% of cities and counties have established blind person’s associations. Since the end of 2013, there are 3143 blind person’s associations nationwide, with nearly 20,000 full-time and part-time workers.
- Development (statistics of HK, Macau and Taiwan is not include below)
Rehab need of blind people has been further met. Since the end of 2013, 12.624 million cataract surgeries have been operated, 745 thousand visual aids provided for low vision patients, 320 thousand blind people trained in mobility orientation, and about ten thousand parents of children with low vision trained to efficiently carry out rehab training at home.
Education right has been further safeguarded. Since the promulgation of Regulation on Education of Disable People, enrollment rate of blind children in compulsory education stage has enormously enhanced, and secondary education and vocational education greatly developed. About 10 higher education institutions have set up junior college and undergraduate majors, 27 senior high schools of blind people have been established, and 1609 blind students study in schools. National Center for Sign Language and Braille has been established, which takes charge in standardization of national general Braille, Braille examination standards and Braille training materials.
Employment of blind people has developed steadily, with the majority in massage, and Regulation on Employment of Disabled People. Since the end of 2012, there are 110 thousand therapeutic massage employees and 25 thousand medical message practitioners nationwide, while 14 thousand therapeutic massage institutions and 936 medical massage institutions are established. Employment channels of blind persons have been broadened, with a steady employment increase in piano tuning, psychological consulting and e-commerce.
3.4 Social Security and Poverty Alleviation
Minimum subsistence allowance system and social security system have been gradually established and benefited most blind people. Social security coverage rate of blind people in cities and towns amounts to 60%, while new types of rural social pension scheme coverage rate reaches 70%. The total or majority part of insurance of most blind people is paid by government. With the implementation of Development Program of Poverty Alleviation for Rural PWDs, CAB has carried out practical technique training, establish poverty alleviation centers, help blind people get employed and settled, and set blind people in priority in the renovation for the dangerous houses.
3.5 Cultural Life
Culture life of blind people has been enriched greatly. China Braille Press and China Braille Library (China Blind Persons’ Cultural Information Service Center) and other service facilities have been founded. The Blind Persons Monthly, with a history of 60 years, has become a cultural monthly with an integration of Braille, electronic Chinese characters and recordings. National Commission for Blind People Reading Promotion has been established, aiming to make blind people literate.
CAB promulgated Regulation on Accessible Environment Construction, and standardized Braille ballot ticket, Braille exam paper, Braille reading material, guide dog and information accessibility. CDPF and CAB, together with civil aviation, railway, finance, judiciary, broadcasting, education, communication and public transportation related departments, formulate a series of industry accessibility measures such as disabled persons civil aviation regulation regarding disabled persons, railway station accessible facilities construction regulation, banking service for disabled persons regulation.
Despite of enormous progress achieved on the work for blind people, CAB also faces various challenges: first, China is the biggest developing country in the world, with a huge population of 1.3 billion residents, 85 million PWDs. The blind people is still in a relatively vulnerable status, and their living conditions lag behind social average standard, let alone the poverty alleviation of the blind people in rural, remote and poverty-stricken areas. Second, the level of inclusive education of blind people needs to be enhanced, and concept promoted. Third, full coverage of accessibility has not yet realized for the blind people, with impediments existing in going out and internet surfing; due to fund shortage, popularization of guide dog faces great difficulties.