BEIJING, Feb. 26 (Xinhua) -- Chinese lawmakers convened on Tuesday to discuss a draft amendment to the Law on Protection of the Disabled in an effort to better safeguard their rights and interests.
The disabled should be guaranteed the right to play a fair role in social life and share the fruits of China's economic and social development, said the draft amendment.
The draft, a revision of a law that took effect in 1991, was drawn up to "tackle new circumstances and problems" cropping up amid economic and social advances, said China's Civil Affairs Minister Li Xueju.
As China had promised to allow guide dogs to enter public places during the upcoming Beijing Olympic Games, the draft amendment agreed to lift such bans but said relevant regulations should be observed when guide dogs in aid of the disabled entering public venues.
According to the China Disabled Persons' Federation, the per capita income in households with disabled members is less than half the national average. And 43.29 percent of disabled people aged above 15 are illiterate, well above the national average of 6.27 percent for the same age bracket.
The draft urged governments at all levels to provide better education, better rehabilitation, higher living standards and more jobs for the country's disabled.
China has about 83 million disabled people, accounting for 6.34percent of the population, and more than 75 percent of the disabled live in rural areas.
The draft further clarified the rights of the disabled to play a role in state affairs and social life, stipulating that their voice must be heard when laws, regulations and policies concerning them are made.
The amendment gave the government more responsibility in providing public services to the disabled. More public welfare jobs for the disabled should be created and government departments at all levels should provide more free training and job-placement opportunities, the draft amendment read.
The draft was submitted on Tuesday to the 32nd session of the 10th Standing Committee of the National People's Congress (NPC), China's national legislature.
The amendment also urged the government to provide various types of special aid and support to the disabled.
Governments should establish and improve rehabilitation services for the disabled, set up schools for them and provide financial support for disabled students and children of impoverished disabled parents, it said.
The draft also stressed the need to build and improve physical facilities that would make it easier for the disabled.