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Paralympic medals reflect human rights success

China Daily | Updated: 2021-10-21 08:13

Gold medallists Qu Zimo of China and Nai Jianpeng of China pose on the podium at Yoyogi National Stadium, Tokyo, Japan, Sept 5, 2021. [Photo/IC]

Editor's Note: China has made great achievements in building a favorable environment for people with disabilities, and the medal haul of the Chinese team at the recent Tokyo Paralympic Games is proof of that. Two experts share their views on the issue with China Daily. Excerpts follow:

The interests of the disabled are well protected in China

At the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games, the Chinese team won 96 gold, 60 silver and 51 bronze medals, topping the ranking both in gold and total medals for the fifth consecutive Paralympics. The team also set 29 new world records.

The Chinese athletes' remarkable performance bears witness to the great progress China has made to promote the cause of the disabled.

Sports reflect the living standards of the people of a country and the level of human rights they enjoy. Creating favorable conditions for the disabled to play sports is an integral part of China's undertaking to build a harmonious society, and an effective way of helping the disabled to fully integrate into the mainstream and realize their human rights. China's achievements on this front also reflect the development path of human rights in the country.

The 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China in 2017 decided to strengthen human rights protection. Since then, China has built a comprehensive legal system to better protect the rights and interests of the disabled, and enacted a series of supportive laws and regulations, including the regulations on the rehabilitation, employment, education, and construction of barrier-free infrastructure for the disabled.

Besides, China has taken an active part in international efforts to build a sound global human rights governance system for the disabled. As an active advocate of, and major participant in, the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, China has ensured the Chinese people enjoy all the human rights stipulated in the convention, including the right to take part in cultural, entertainment, leisure and sports activities.

As a state party to the UN International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights and other core human rights covenants, China has fulfilled all its human rights obligations and protected the rights of the disabled.

China has been playing an increasingly important role in improving the lives of persons with disabilities by taking forward the missions of the International Paralympic Committee, the International Blind Sports Association and the Special Olympics International. The fact that China's disabled athletes have won 1,114 gold medals in about 160 international competitions and set more than 200 new world records in the past five years is proof of that.

China has also provided financial and technical support within its capacity for the UN, other global organizations and many developing countries for persons with disabilities.

It has made targeted donations to the International Paralympic Committee Development Fund and other organizations for disabled persons in many countries, helped set up international funds for the rehabilitation of the disabled, and promoted global cooperation and development in this field, for which it has been praised by the international community.

China has now embarked on a new journey to build a modern socialist country in an all-round way. And by realizing common prosperity, China can further boost the cause of disabled people, instill in them a greater sense of gain, accord them better security, thus greatly contributing to human rights cause.

Wang Xigen, head of the Institute of Human Rights Law, Huazhong University of Science and Technology

People with disabilities enjoy all basic rights

In China, persons with disabilities enjoy all basic rights, including the right to cultural, education, and sport activities, just like other citizens. The State has made painstaking efforts to promote people-centered human rights, which includes the development of sports for the disabled and protecting their right to play sports.

In doing so, the State has solicited the opinions of persons with disabilities, their social organizations and representatives, and enacted laws to ensure persons with disabilities, like other citizens, enjoy the same right to play sports.

The building of a moderately prosperous society in all respects, which marks a glorious chapter in the development of the human rights cause in China, has facilitated the equal participation of persons with disabilities in social construction and ensured they also share the fruits of the nation's development.

Over the years, people with disabilities, thanks to their enthusiasm, initiative and creativity, have participated in the development of sports including receiving physical education, taking part in physical fitness and rehabilitation activities, as well as the Paralympics and other special sports competitions both at home and abroad, and excelling in different disciplines.

By participating in cultural and sports activities organized by social organizations, people with disabilities have demonstrated that, instead of being dependent on social relief and welfare, they can take care of themselves and be productive members of society.

That people with disabilities in China can freely use public sports facilities and participate in cultural and sports activities shows the government is committed to fully integrating them into society. And the recently released National Human Rights Action Plan (2021-25) calls for making more efforts to build a barrier-free environment to promote the inclusion of persons with disabilities in such events.

However, the government needs to do more to improve the barrier-free environment in public sports and cultural venues, in order to ensure that mass sports and public fitness programs equally benefit every person with disability. Ensuring equal participation of all persons with disabilities in sports activities is the best way of promoting their social integration and treating them equally, and demonstrate the advantages of socialism with Chinese characteristics and promote China's human rights cause.

Zhang Wanhong, executive director of the Institute for Human Rights Studies at Wuhan University

The views don't necessarily reflect those of China Daily.

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