A Chinese expert has denounced a "Human Rights Watch" report's accusations regarding disabled people in China as "groundless," saying it disregarded the country's continuous efforts in protecting the disadvantaged group.
The "World Report 2013" published by "Human Rights Watch" on Thursday groundlessly criticized the efforts made by China in protecting the rights of the disabled, according to a signed article by Li Shi'an, a professor with the Beijing-based Renmin University of China.
However, facts are more eloquent than words, the article "Human Rights Watch Report is Unfair" read.
China has 85 million disabled people, accounting for 6.3 percent of its total population, official figures show.
China was among the countries that first advocated, promoted and supported the United Nations (UN) international convention related to protecting the rights of the disabled.
The government has attached great importance to carrying out obligations set by the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD), and has taken a series of legislative, judicial and administrative measures to ensure its effective implementation, it said.
China has established a work pattern, which is led by the government and supported by organizations for the disabled, with the participation of all citizens, according to the article.
The government also took into account relevant content of the convention during its legislation and planning for the development of disabled people so as to turn the CRPD's principles and standards into domestic practices, it said.
During the fourth Beijing Forum on Human Rights, Jane Connors, chief of the UN's Special Procedures Branch at the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, praised China for being the first to submit its report on implementing the CRPD and accepting relevant reviews.
In 1988, the China Disabled Persons' Federation was established and it set up branches nationwide at and above the county-level in the following years to protect the rights of disabled people. The system was improved later to better serve the disabled, the article said.
Meanwhile, disabled people enjoy full political rights with many of them elected as deputies to the legislature or nominated to be members of political advisory bodies at national or local levels to exercise their rights, it said.
In 1990, China promulgated the Law on the Protection of Disabled Persons, and revised it for the first time in 2008, further strengthening the supportive measures of safeguarding the rights and interests of the disabled.
In May 2007, the government publicized the regulation on the employment of disabled people, specifying the tasks and objectives as well as concrete measures to promote their employment.
The government issued the National Human Rights Action Plan of China (2009-2010) and the National Human Rights Action Plan of China (2012-2015) respectively in 2009 and 2012, each stipulated in detail the rights of the disabled.
In July 2012, the central government issued a five-year plan (2011-2015) for the national basic public service system. It planned to provide public services in accordance with the special needs of the disabled, create social conditions for the disabled to participate equally, and offer stable institutional guarantee for the life and development of the disabled.
To date, the government has promulgated more than 60 laws or regulations dedicated to protecting the rights of the disabled, which laid a foundation for a legal protection system with Chinese characteristics for the disabled, according to the article.
The country has made significant achievements in protecting the rights of the disabled in recent years, especially in terms of rehabilitation, medical treatment, education, employment and social insurance, it said.
From 2006 to 2010, nearly 10.38 million disabled people received rehabilitation services. The public barrier-free facilities had improved nationwide.
A total of 29,915 disabled people had been enrolled by colleges and universities during the same period. Also, 519,000 hearing, vision or mentally-impaired children had studied in 1,705 special schools and 2,775 special education classes affiliated to ordinary schools as of 2010.
About 4.41 million disabled people had jobs in cities or towns and another 17.5 million were engaging in agricultural production in rural areas.
More than 2.83 million disabled employees in urban areas had been covered by social insurance. Also, 3.56 million disabled urban residents were covered by basic medical insurance. More than 9.27 million disabled had received the government's minimum living allowance.
The article hailed the above-mentioned achievements as miracles in the world's history of protecting the rights of disabled people since China had achieved so much in such a short period of time.
The "Human Rights Watch" deliberately ignored the facts and filed groundless accusations against China's efforts, the article read. "It's really difficult to compliment the report's standards."