Capital to improve facilities for disabled

Updated: 2016-02-03 08:17

By Wang Xiaodong(China Daily)

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Greater barrier-free access for Beijing's nearly 1 million disabled residents will be provided over the next five years.

The municipal government is pushing ahead with renovating existing facilities and older residential areas, as well as creating more accessible public transport hubs, Lyu Zhengming, vice-president of the Beijing Disabled Persons' Federation, told a news conference on Tuesday.

A navigation system to help locate barrier-free public facilities will also be established, while a program to help disabled people improve their own homes is also expected, he said.

Around 1 million Beijing residents are classified as having a physical or mental disability, out of a population of 21.7 million, and the population of people living with at least one disabled family member was 2.6 million, according to the federation.

Yan Taifeng, a researcher with the federation, said that the capital's disabled enjoy fewer employment opportunities and have less income than their able-bodied counterparts.

Even factoring in all government subsidies, the average per capita annual income of families with a disabled member in the city's urban areas was 33,700 yuan ($5,100) in 2014, or 76 percent of the average, he said.

"After many years of development, Beijing's barrier-free facilities are still lacking," said Zhang Lihua, a professor of human resources at Renmin University of China.

He said that specially-equipped, disabled-friendly buses were common in many developed countries such as the United States, but were still not readily available in most places in China, including Beijing.

(China Daily 02/03/2016 page4)