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UN Honors 5 Chinese in Promoting Rights of Disabled

The United Nations awarded five Chinese with honorary certificates for their contributions in promoting the rights of persons with disabilities on Monday morning.

These outstanding individuals, three of them with disabilities themselves, received certificates from Khalid Malik, United Nations Resident Coordinator in China. The honor recognized the powerful role they played in promoting services for persons with disabilities and their passion devoted to foster the well-being of the vulnerable groups of society.

Honored were Tang Xiaoquan, the China Disabled Persons' Federation president, Tai Lihua, director and leading dancer of the China Disabled Persons' Performing Art Troupe, Wang Fang, founder of the Angels' Home devoted to caring for children with cerebral palsy, Yu Haibo, founder of a volunteer association for person with disabilities, and Wu Runling committed to non-governmental organizations participation in promoting the rights of persons with disabilities.

"It's not impossible, but only harder, for us to reach our dreams," said Tai Lihua. The 31-year-old artist, who has performed in over 30 countries, is the only Chinese dancer to perform at both New York's Carnegie Hall and La Scala in Milan, Italy.

"People with disabilities exemplify the best of the human spirit. There are no people with disabilities, but people with different abilities," said Malik.

"Their rights shall by no means be ignored, disrespected or not fulfilled."

People with disabilities are the world's largest minority. Globally, there are more than 650 million such individuals. China has more than 82 million living with disabilities, of whom 20,000 are newly disabled as a result of the May 12 Wenchuan earthquake, according to Malik.

China is not only among the first signatories of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities but it ratified this convention in June.

The newly-amended Law on Protection of the Disabled of China, which took effect on July 1, added details about financial support, medical care and rehabilitation services for the disabled, along with preferential policies on jobs and taxation.

(Xinhua News Agency September 16, 2008)

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