The flame is lit in the cauldron during the Beijing 2022 Winter Paralympic Torch Relay at Beijing Expo Park in Beijing, capital of China, March 3, 2022. (Xinhua/Sun Ruibo)
BEIJING, March 4 (Xinhua) — Participation in sports is an important part of the right to livelihood and development of people with disabilities, China said Thursday in a white paper on parasports, the first of its kind in the country.
The development of parasports plays a vital role in encouraging people with disabilities to enhance their self-esteem, confidence, independence and strength, and pursue self-improvement, according to the document titled “Parasports in China: Progress and Protection”. Rights “.
The country’s approach to parasport is a combination of enhancing well-being and facilitating self-reliance, and emphasizes respecting and protecting the human rights and personal dignity of people with disabilities, said Lyu Yansong, deputy head of the publicity department of the Communist Party of China’s Central Committee, at a press conference held to introduce the white paper.
Over the past decades, China has taken a host of measures to boost the development of parasports, ensure historic progress and move closer to the goals of equality, participation and sharing, Lyu said.
Disabled sports have been integrated into rehabilitation services. Governments at all levels have carried out sports rehabilitation and fitness activities.
The participation rate in popular cultural and sports activities for people with disabilities in China has soared from 6.8 percent in 2015 to 23.9 percent in 2021, according to the white paper.
Rehabilitation and fitness services for people with disabilities continue to improve in China, the white paper said.
By 2020, a total of 10,675 accessible sports venues had been built nationwide, 125,000 instructors had been trained, and 434,000 households housing a severely disabled person had received rehabilitation and home fitness services.
The country is working on an accessible sports environment, renovating sports venues and facilities to make them more accessible to people with disabilities.
Beijing, for example, has modified 336,000 facilities and sites since 2019, according to the white paper.
THE IMPETUS OF THE PARALYMPIC
The Beijing 2022 Paralympic Games have given a boost to Paralympic winter sports in China, according to Wang Meimei, vice chairman of the board of directors of the China Disabled Persons’ Federation.
China’s successful bid for the Games in 2015 has generated great opportunities for the development of the country’s Paralympic winter sports, Wang said at the same press conference.
From 2015 to 2021, the number of winter Paralympians has increased from less than 50 to nearly 1,000, Wang said.
More and more people with disabilities are realizing their dreams and achieving remarkable improvements in their lives through sport.
Hu Haitao, a member of a hearing-impaired ski team from southwest China’s Sichuan province, put on his skis for the first time in November 2018.
In just three months, he had won bronze at the 2019 National Games for the Disabled, and bagged two silver medals two years later.
His teammate Yang Changrong placed second in a youth ski competition in Chengdu, capital of Sichuan, in 2021.
The 11-year-old girl prepared to share her dream with her classmates.
“I love to ski. And I want to compete like Olympic champions,” she said. ■