World's disabled get new champion

Updated: 2016-10-28 05:20

By DAI TIAN(chinadaily.com.cn)

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Zhang Haidi becomes president of Rehabilitation International

Zhang Haidi, chairwoman of China Disabled Persons' Federation, became head of Rehabilitation International (RI), a leading global network for the rights and inclusion of the disabled, in Edinburgh on Thursday.

World's disabled get new champion

Zhang Haidi, chairwoman of Rehabilitation International (RI) speaks at her inauguration at the RI Congress in Edinburgh, Scotland, on Oct 27. Lin Wei Guang/For China Daily

A bestselling writer and translator, Zhang was elected RI's incoming president in 2014.

"Our responsibility is to help as many disabled people as possible with access to rehabilitation, thus to see the light, to hear the sound, to sit, to stand, to walk, to run, to equally integrate into society and live a happy life," Zhang said at the inauguration ceremony before the RI Congress on Thursday.

"It is indeed a tremendous honor for me to work for the RI in this role," she added.

World's disabled get new champion

Zhang Haidi, chairwoman of Rehabilitation International (RI) speaks at her inauguration at the RI Congress in Edinburgh, Scotland, on Oct 27. Lin Wei Guang/For China Daily

Zhang pledged to make more effort in her four-year tenure to eliminate prejudice and discrimination and promote an equal, sharing and inclusive environment worldwide for people with disabilities.

Born in 1955, Zhang Haidi became paralyzed at the age of five, but she educated herself to the university level before obtaining a master's degree in philosophy from Jilin University. She was awarded an honorary doctorate by the University of York in 2013 and by the University of Massachusetts Boston in 2015.

A prolific writer, Zhang's published works include Beautiful English, Dreams in Wheelchair, The Topmost, Enduring as the Universe and collections of short essays.

Zhang is a member of the Standing Committee of the 11th and 12th Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference and is also head of the Chinese Paralympic delegation.

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