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Disabled people often unsure of benefits

05-17-2010 14:16 BJT

BEIJING, May 17 -- An Baichao was born with only one hand.

The disabled man from East China's Shandong Province has managed to make ends meet, but says he constantly worries about the future because he is kept in the dark about his social benefits and how to apply for them.

A disabled man, who lost both of his arms, learns how to use a computer in Mudanjiang, Heilongjiang Province Sunday. Authorities are offering the free six-week course to more than 100 disabled people to help them secure a job. (Xinhua)
A disabled man, who lost both of his arms, learns how to use a computer in 
Mudanjiang, Heilongjiang Province Sunday. Authorities are offering the free six-
week course to more than 100 disabled people to help them secure a job. (Xinhua)

An earns about 1,500 yuan ($220) a month by running a store that sells solar energy heaters in Wulian county. His job is his only income. He is not living on social insurance or healthcare benefits. The disabled man said he must borrow money from relatives for his apartment, and if his business fails, his life will be in financial ruins.

An believes he needs more help from the government, but isn't sure exactly what benefits should be provided.

"I don't even know the rights of disabled people," he said.

An Baichao is one of millions of disabled people who marked the 20th National Help-the-Disabled Day Sunday by urging the government to provide more assistance to help them tackle difficulties.

Representatives of the disabled said their welfare benefits have improved over the past decade, but that many of them still need more assistance.

Deng Pufang, the honorary chairman of China Disabled Person's Federation (CDPF), said on Saturday that many dis-abled people have been able to cope with poverty since a plan to support rural disabled people was implemented in 2001.

Deng, who was disabled by physical attacks during the Cultural Revolution (1966–76), said the challenges for disabled people are still tough.

Wang Xinxian, the director-general of CDPF, told People's Daily earlier that the country has a disabled population of more than 83 million, accounting for 6.34 percent of the total population.

He said half of the disabled people who are able to work can't find a job. More than 49.5 percent of the disabled people in urban areas, and 65 percent of those in rural areas need daily living assistance.

Wang said the government should intensify efforts to help disabled people.

In Shandong, An said the government has paid more attention to the needs of disabled people, citing the establishment of a Life and Sunshine Pavilion for the disabled at the World Expo 2010 in Shanghai, but added that more concrete measures should be taken.

"Although the establishment of the Life and Sunshine pavilion is more of a symbolic gesture than a practical measure, at least it showed the government's determination to promote the welfare of the disabled," An said.

"I hope the government will help me, especially as I get older and cannot make a living on my own."

(Source: Global Times)

Editor:Jin Lin |Source: Xinhua

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