Asia Paralympics body chief praises China for its disabled-friendly efforts
President Majed Rashed of the Asian Paralympic Committee (APC) has lauded China for the country's recent improvements in accessibility and accommodation for disabled people.
The APC chief's accolades came during his visit to the ongoing 10th National Games for Persons with Disabilities & the 7th National Special Olympics Games in the Chinese municipality of Tianjin.
In a recent interview to China's news agency Xinhua, Rashed said: "A national Paralympic games is not just about sports, metals and competitions,. It is about a friendly country for people with disabilities."
"China is now at the top of the Paralympic games ranking," said the administrator from the United Arab Emirates further, and added: "Hosting a sporting event like this is important in improving the quality of life for people with disabilities."
The Games are staged between August 25 and September 1 in north China's city-municipality, featuring a record 6,121 athletes who are representing 35 teams from across the country in 33 events, (25 for the Games for Persons with Disabilities and eight for the Special Olympic Games).
Meanwhile, Rashed, who has traveled to China on 10 occasions over the years, also mentioned: "You can feel the differences now in China, compared to when I came to the country for the first time in 2007, for the Special Olympics World Summer Games, when I was the head of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) delegation."
According to the Emirati sports administrator, China's large population means it also has a considerable number of disabled people, and he felt that the Chinese government is improving policies and rules to offer equal opportunities to everyone.
"What do I mean by equal? People with disabilities should have access to different kinds of services in the country. In education, we need accessible schools and qualified teachers. In healthcare, accessible hospitals and qualified doctors are necessary," he explained.
Rashed also pointed out that China's barrier-free environment has improved a lot for disabled people, especially those in wheelchairs.
"I can get on public transportation easily, and there is room for a wheelchair in my hotel. It is easy for me to go to the toilet now, there is no risk and no danger," he explained.
Hailing the most populous country's disabled-friendly policies, an optimistic Rashed opined: "With the efforts of [China Disabled Persons' Federation president] Zhang Haidi and the Chinese government, I can feel the change in China compared with before, and I believe it will continue in the right direction in future."