Image via Xinhua
A recent study by US-based Human Rights Watch claims that nearly 40 percent of China’s mentally or physically disabled population have not received an adequate education and are considered illiterate. The study places much of the blame on public schools that turn down disabled students, pressure them to leave, or fail to provide assistance to those in need.
The odds are certainly stacked against the disabled in China. Setting aside extreme cases (like the disabled toddler found in an illegal black prison) there are stories like Chen Guangcheng’s; a blind man who wanted to be a lawyer, despite the fact that 90% of blind Chinese citizens are pigenholed into either massage or accupuncture jobs. South China Morning Post reports on HRW’s findings:
China, which has at least 83 million people with disabilities, is working on a draft regulation to give sufferers the right to an education. Attitudes to the disabled are slowly changing, especially after China hosted the Paralympic Games in 2008. […]
About 28 per cent of China’s disabled children do not receive compulsory basic education, the group says.
Cheng Yuan, a disability rights activist in Nanjing, said 70 per cent of children with disabilities were forced to attend mainstream schools.
“Even if they are sitting in the classroom, they are not getting the education they deserve,” Cheng said.
“The government has claimed that every five years, there will be a development programme for people with disabilities. But according to the previous outlines, they’ve never been implemented.”