This is a continued feature multi-part blog post written by our Executive Director, Alanna Hendren. Alanna will be blogging about her recent experience flying off to China as the leader of the People-to-People Psychiatric Services and Developmental Disabilities Delegation. Every Tuesday and Friday, we will be posting about her journey in China, the developmental services offered there, and the people there. To read part 2, follow this link.
The Chinese government is currently clarifying the needs of the disabled populations and the best methods to meet their needs in the areas of: 1. Rehabilitation therapies, 2. Combating the effects of Poverty and 3. Medical Care. There were no rehabilitation or other special services in China until the Chairman of China’s Federation had a spinal cord injury and had surgery in Canada. He was so impressed at the positive outcome of the surgery and the rehabilitation therapy he received that he returned to China to establish the China Rehabilitation and Research Center (CRRC), the largest in the world. State-owned, the Center’s goal is to establish a total, comprehensive rehabilitation system by 2015. Currently, they employ 80,000 people who are beginning to support about 80 million people with disabilities in an emerging system. Services provided by the CRRC include:
- Medicine and rehabilitation
- Special and inclusive education
- Community-based services and activities
- Poverty alleviation
- Social activity and Special Olympics
- Non-Government Organization (NGO) services in a ‘civil’ society
To assist them in their goals, China’s government ratified the UN Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities and in 2008, they made amendments to the law of the People’s Republic of China on the Protection of Disabled Persons by enshrining the UN convention in law, reinforcing that people with disabilities had rights to rehabilitation, education, employment, and social integration. They also enacted improved legislation on education, employment and an “implementation act” on rehabilitation. The target of “Rehab for All’ is to have services delivered through national and local programs by 2015, with formal monitoring of their progress toward their objective along the way.
The China Disabled Person’s Federation also acts as a coordination mechanism amongst other Ministries of government, including Health, Civil Affairs, Finance, Public Security, Education, Professional Associations, urban communities and grass-roots non-profits. Rehabilitation services are provided by non-profits at the community level, particularly in the areas of intellectual disability and psychiatric services. The People’s Republic of China has also implemented a quota system where one to two people with a disability must be employed for every 100 workers hired by a company or factory. A new program that provides people with food, clothing and housing has also been introduced to ensure ‘minimal life security’ for people with disabilities.