Barrier-free environment beneficial to all
In February 2022, the National People's Congress Standing Committee's Social Development Affairs Committee announced it had started research on the construction of a barrier-free environment, societal infrastructure that is inclusive for the disabled. In November, a draft law on barrier-free environment building was made open for public opinion.
2023 is of utmost importance to the building of a barrier-free environment, as the legislative process will continue along with the construction of barrier-free devices, said Lyu Shiming, vice-chairman of the China Disabled Persons' Federation.
"Barrier-free is an issue not for people with disabilities alone, but for the whole society," Lyu said. "The better barrier-free environment we build, the more conveniently people can spend their daily life. Everybody can benefit — seniors, our friends, our family members enjoy the convenience it brings. That's in accordance with the Communist Party of China's philosophy of serving the people."
Xie Qiming, founder of Halfway Home, a public-interest recovery center that helped over 5,000 people suffering from spinal damage in Xiamen of Southeast China's Fujian province, shared his experience in a video.
"I suffered from spinal damage due to an accident at the age of 9," Xie said. "The blow is not only on an individual with disabilities but also on his/her family. I had to go to the restroom with the help of my family members and the feeling of dependence made me feel very humble, even desperate."
Lyu also stressed it is the job of society to build a barrier-free environment. Guo Liqun, director of the federation's publicity department, called for enterprises and individuals alike to participate in the building of a barrier-free society.
"It's about empowerment. By building our society into one without barriers, we will increase the people's feeling of happiness. That's for all of us."