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Survey: Most of China's Disabled Not Financially Independent

The employment rate of China's disabled people is lower than the national average and most disabled are not financially independent, a national survey said in Beijing on Monday.

The survey said that 2.97 million disabled people in urban areas are employed. About 4.7 million disabled people of working age in the cities and towns are unemployed.

Men aged 16 to 59 and women 16 to 54 were defined as working age, according to the survey.

China has about 83 million disabled people, accounting for 6.34 percent of the country's population. More than 75 percent of the disabled, or 62.25 million, are living in rural areas.

About 13.29 percent of the disabled in urban areas, or 2.75 million, and 3.19 million, or 5.12 percent of the total in rural areas, are covered by benefits, according to the second China National Sample Survey on Disability.

The survey said another 9.75 percent of the disabled in cities and towns and 11.68 percent in villages had received government relief on regular or irregular basis.

The survey did not mention government measures to improve the situation. But officials said earlier that with the reliable information and extensive data obtained from the second survey, the government would review existing policies, plans and programs for disabled people and make appropriate adjustments.

Meanwhile, the survey also said that China's disabled people are getting more access to education compared with the situation in 1987, when the first survey was conducted.

The number of illiterate disabled people aged 15 or above dropped from 59 percent in 1987 to 43.29 percent in 2006, and 63.19 percent of disabled children at school age are in school, the survey said.

The survey was conducted in all 31 provinces, autonomous regions and municipalities on the Chinese mainland by 16 government organizations including the National Statistics Bureau, the Ministry of Civil Affairs, the Ministry of Health and the China Disabled Persons' Federation from April 1 to May 31, 2006.

The 738 survey teams consisted of more than 20,000 enumerators,6,000 doctors, 730 statisticians and 50,000 survey assistants. They interviewed 2,526,145 people in 771,797 households.

(Xinhua News Agency May 29, 2007)

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