BEIJING, Nov. 13 (Xinhua) -- Wheelchair-bound woman writer Zhang Haidi on Thursday was elected as new chairwoman of the China Disabled Persons Federation (CDPF) at the organization's fifth national congress.
She replaced Deng Pufang, who has in the past decade led the organization that represents nearly 83 million disabled people in China.
Deng Pufang will serve as the CDPF's honorable chairman, the congress decided.
"I am honored to be elected the chairwoman of the CDPF," Zhang said in an exclusive interview with Xinhua Thursday afternoon, "I want to extend my gratitude to those who trust me with the job."
"China has accomplished a lot in the cause of the disabled as a result of rapid economic growth and social progress over the past 30 years," she said.
"The new leadership of the CDPF will continue to make efforts to ensure a well-off living standard for the disabled with improved social welfare," Zhang said.
Zhang, 53, became a paraplegic at the age of five following four operations that removed tumors in her spine.
A popular writer, translator, and a national role model for her tenacity despite being handicapped in the 1980s, Zhang is now a member of the Standing Committee of the National Committee of the 11th Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC), China's top advisory body.
She is also the vice chairwoman of the Writers' Association of Shandong Province in eastern China.