China Disabled Persons'
December 1, 2006
Compared with the results of 1987 China National Sample Survey
on Disability, the major statistics of the Second China National
Sample Survey on Disability indicate that the total disabled
population has increased, its proportion to the total national
population has risen and the disability category composition has
A preliminary analysis shows that there are four factors leading
to these changes:
First, the growth of the Chinese population.
According to 1987 Survey, the proportion of disabled people to the
total national population was 4.9 percent. If this figure stood
unchanged in 2006 national population, the disabled population in
2006 would have been 64.16 million, an increase of 12.52 million
over 51.64 million in 1987.
Second, the ageing of the Chinese population.
The population aged 60 years and over reached 11 percent in 2005
from 8.5 percent in 1987. The disability rate tends to be high
among elderly people, because of the high morbidity rate caused by
cerebrovascular diseases, arthropathy, dementia and other senile
diseases. It is found in the present Survey that 44.16 million
disabled people are over 60 years old, 23.65 million more than the
figure in 1987, accounting for 75.5 percent of the newly increased
disabled population all over the country.
Third, the revision of the disability
classification and the criteria of disability identification in
accordance with the latest international standard and the current
situation of China. It is inadequate to conduct disability
identification and classification with the focus on physiological
structure of individuals alone. Attention should be given to
functional barriers and social adaptability. The classification of
limb and body impairment (physical disability) has been
appropriately revised in light of the disability classifications
currently used in China.
Fourth, the effect of other social and
environmental factors. In the accelerated process of
industrialization and urbanization, more massive floating
population, faster work tempo, increased accidents in production
and traffic, and environment pollution have posed higher disability
In the past two decades, the Central Committee of the Chinese
Communist Party and the State Council have adopted a series of
major actions to promote the work for persons with disabilities. As
a result of economic development, social progress, and improvement
of medical treatment and services, notable successes have been
scored in the field of disability prevention and rehabilitation.
Poliomyelitis and some other conventional diseases for disabilities
have been put under control and morbidity of some disabilities has
been effectively prevented through the programs of "healthy birth
and sound care", planned immunization, iodine supplement and
intervention on newborn defects. Since 1988, about 6 million blind
people have regained their eyesight by cataract operations and more
than 5 million disabled persons have gained rehabilitation in
various degrees through orthopedic surgery, mental illness
prevention, treatment and rehabilitation, hearing and speech
rehabilitation for deaf children, and other rehabilitation
Compared with other countries, particularly the developed
countries, China has adopted quite stringent disability
identification criteria. Therefore, the disability rate in China is
comparatively lower.At present, it is commonly accepted by the
international community that disabled population is around 10
percent of the world population.
(China Development Gateway December 1, 2006)