Chinese dance troupe graces new UN stamp

Updated: 2013-09-24 10:48

By Michael Barris at the United Nations (China Daily)

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 Chinese dance troupe graces new UN stamp

Liu Jieyi, China's permanent representative to the UN, speaks at a press conference to launch the new postage stamp featuring the image of a troupe of Chinese dancers with disabilities at the UN headquarters in New York on Monday. Michael Barris / China Daily

China's ambassador to the United Nations said a new postage stamp featuring the image of a troupe of Chinese dancers with disabilities performing an exotic Chinese folk dance emphasizes the UN's "appreciation" of China's support for the disabled.

The stamp, which depicts the China Disabled People's Performing Art Troupe performing the Buddha with a Thousand Hands dance, "showcases the inner strengths of persons with disabilities to overcome difficulties in pursuing their dreams", Liu Jieyi said.

The stamp was one of six unveiled by the UN Monday to "celebrate the power of human achievement despite the barriers associated with disabilities", David Failor, chief of the United Nations Postal Administration, said. Other stamps in the group feature images from the US and UK - all unified by the theme of "breaking barriers and opening doors", Failor said.

The stamps' release was timed to coincide with this week's UN General Assembly meeting on disability and development.

Liu called the stamp testimony to the UN's "appreciation of China's social development", particularly its support for the disabled. He told the audience that the UN's six-year-old Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, an international treaty intended to protect the rights and dignity of the disabled, is an "important" agreement that exemplifies the UN's "dedication" to protecting people with disabilities worldwide.

The UN General Assembly adopted the text of the Convention in December 2006. Since taking effect in May 2008, the treaty has 155 signatories and 134 parties, according to the UN.

Liu said, "China will continue to participate in and actively support these endeavors".

The ambassador said President Xi Jinping's frequent exhortations to Chinese to pursue "the Chinese dream" - achieving prosperity and personal well-being - is "a dream for all Chinese people, including 85 million people with disabilities in China".

"The Chinese government attaches great importance to the well being and fulfillment of persons with disabilities," Liu said. "We have charted our way forward and put in place an institutional framework to protect their rights.

"In the pursuit of the Chinese dream, the Chinese government will be firmly committed to helping persons with disabilities achieve a more beautiful life," he said.

Zhang Haidi, president of the China Disabled Persons' Federation, said the stamp signifies both the UN's recognition of the achievements of disabled people in China, as well as the troupe's "special art". The 20-year-old troupe, which has performed at the Paralympics Games in Athens and Beijing, "carries the dream of people with disabilities", she said.

Stephen Cutts, UN Assistant Secretary-General for the Office of Central Support Services, praised the troupe's inclusion in the program, calling its work and performances "legendary".

Last week, two reports from the disabled persons' federation drew attention to China's progress in supporting the disabled. One report said school enrolment by children with disabilities in China has improved in the past five years, although 28 percent still cannot be enrolled at school. Another report said the nation has made solid progress in helping disabled people find employment and in setting up specialized training centers across the country.

The stamp is being issued in various denominations. Those in US currency will be valid for postage only when mailed at UN headquarters in New York.

(China Daily USA 09/24/2013 page2)