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Campaign to Help Disabled Underway
Disabled persons can enjoy as high a quality of life as average people if the government and society pledge sufficient care and support, said Deng Pufang, president of the China Disabled Persons' Federation.

Deng made the remarks yesterday at the opening ceremony of the country's first-ever national exhibition of paintings and calligraphic works by disabled persons.

Yesterday marked the 11th Day of Disabled Persons. The exhibition, according to Deng, aims to display the remarkable achievements possible for disabled persons.

"People would never suspect the works are created by people with physical defects, because they are so outstanding and absolutely competitive with works of the kind by the healthy," said Deng.

However, only in a supportive social climate can the disabled attain excellence through persistent hard work, Deng added.

Therefore his federation, he said, will continue its all-out campaign to create a disabled-friendly world.

One major effort in this regard is the campaign to equip cities with facilities that make it easy for disabled people to move around. Such measures include replacing staircases in public places with gentle slopes.

At the urging of the federation, the Ministry of Construction and the Ministry of Civil Affairs issued a regulation in August which stipulates that all Chinese cities should free new construction, such as residential squares, airports and railway stations, from all possible obstacles to disabled persons.

According to the regulation, no new construction plan can be approved by the authorities unless the plan includes "proper considerations of obstacle-free facilities for the sake of disabled persons."

Meanwhile, the State Council issued special orders urging major Chinese cities to renovate their old squares by adding such obstacle-free facilities.

Although fulfilling the goals of the campaign will not be easy, many cities, such as east China's Shanghai, and Guangzhou, capital of south China's Guangdong Province, have expressed considerable enthusiasm in this regard.

"They know the facilities are a necessary criterion if they want to rank among the world's first rate cities," said Deng.

All Chinese cities are expected to have such obstacle-free facilities along their major roads, in key public areas and in all residential squares in 10 years, according to Deng.

(China Daily December 4, 2002)

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