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Hu Calls for More Help for the Disabled
Chinese President Hu Jintao has called on the Party and governments at all levels to help handicapped people around the country, as part of the efforts to build a society that is more caring and full of love.

The Chinese leader said it is a basic requirement of China's socialist system to care for the disabled and guarantee them the interests and rights and dignity due every citizen as well as equal social status and opportunities, so as to enable them share the fruit of material and cultural progress of society with able-bodied citizens.

In the preface to a book on renowned handicapped people and stories on aid for the handicapped, Hu, also general secretary of Central Committee of the Communist Party of China, called on the Party and governments at all levels to support undertakings designed to help the disabled.

The Party and governments should, according to the special needs of the disabled, formulate policies and take measures for rehabilitation, education, employment, welfare, social security, cultural life and a no-barrier environment, Hu wrote.

Hu said that all walks of society should continue to carry forward the humanitarian spirit and the fine traditions of understanding, respecting, caring for and helping the disabled in a order to cultivate human relations of equality, love and mutual help and unity.

The words written by Hu were read Sunday afternoon in Beijing at a national meeting citing 122 handicapped people for their self-reliance and a number of people and units for their assistance to the handicapped population.

Chinese Vice-Premier Hui Liangyu and leading officials of government departments at central and provincial levels attended the meeting.

Addressing the meeting, Guo Jianmo, president of the Executive Council of the China Disabled Persons' Federation, said China has set up over 50,000 liaison centers for volunteers devoted to helping handicapped people and the number of registered volunteers has exceeded 1.69 million.

Guo said disabled people in China are enjoying equal rights with other people in political life.

Currently, over 1,500 of them are working either as deputies to the People's Congresses or as members of the committees of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference at the county level or above, Guo said.

Over the past decades, China has established an effective mechanism for assisting handicapped people, including registering volunteers and setting-up of facilities to assist the handicapped.

Meanwhile, he said, an increasing number of handicapped people who have become well-off are trying to help other handicapped people who are poverty-stricken or suffering from financial difficulties.

(Xinhua News Agency September 8, 2003)

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