BEIJING, Sept. 19 (Xinhua) -- On Monday, more than 600 delegates representing about 85 million people living with disabilities gathered in the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, as China Disabled Persons' Federation opened its eighth national congress.
Among the Party and state leaders attending the event was President Xi Jinping, also general secretary of the Communist Party of China Central Committee and chairman of the Central Military Commission.
Over the years, Xi has placed particular care and attention on this group of people, inspiring many individuals with disabilities to chase their dreams. Among them is Huang Daoliang from Minqing County in east China's Fujian Province.
At the age of nine, Huang had both of his arms amputated after accidentally touching a high-voltage wire. The accident did not stop him from pursuing his dream of attending college.
In 1988 and 1989, Huang failed the national college entrance exam twice, despite achieving decent scores. He thought his failures were possibly due to his physical condition.
In 1990, Huang sat the national college entrance exam once again. In that year, Xi took up the position of Party chief of Fuzhou, capital city of Fujian Province, as well as principal of Minjiang Polytechnic College (now known as Minjiang University).
Upon learning of Huang's story, Xi made the decision to admit him through exceptional enrollment, making Huang the first "armless student" in the college and in the entire province.
"For me, it was indeed a new lease of life," Huang recalled. The 53-year-old man has dedicated his career to the local disabled persons' federation in Minqing since graduation, driven by a deep sense of gratitude.
Wang Yani, with a hearing impairment, has drawn strength from her interactions with Xi as she aspired to become a teacher.
During an inspection in Hohhot, capital city of north China's Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region in 2014, Xi visited a welfare home for children where Wang lived.
Visiting Wang's room, Xi looked through some of her albums and sign language books. Xi smiled as he learned some gestures in sign language from Wang.
Upon leaving, Xi encouraged Wang to study hard and pursue excellence in her school years.
Wang expressed her gratitude by bending a thumb, which means "Thank you" in Chinese sign language. Xi got the message and continued to encourage her by following her sign language.
In 2019, Wang achieved her dream of becoming a cosmetology teacher at the special education school where she had studied. Before that, she attended a beauty school in Hohhot, where, despite being the only student with disabilities, she overcame all difficulties and challenges to graduate as the top student.
In Tangshan, north China's Hebei Province, Yang Yufang and his wife Gao Zhihong, both becoming paraplegic after a deadly 7.8-magnitude earthquake that hit the city in 1976, are enjoying a content life at a residential care center where they have jobs.
In 2016, when Xi visited the center for the earthquake victims, he talked with the couple and was glad to learn that they had been able to work as much as their strength would permit, blend into society, and live independently.
"If people with a sound physical condition can have a brilliant life, people with disabilities can do likewise," Xi said.
Encouraged by Xi, the couple has tried their best to assist those around them. They have supported impoverished students by making crafts for charity sales over the years.
There are numerous moments like the aforementioned, and the millions of people with disabilities in China don't have to meet Xi in person to benefit from the country's commitment to ensuring that disabled people have a brilliant life.
In recent years, China has taken concrete steps to expand educational and job opportunities for people with disabilities, allowing them to realize their goals and share the benefits of national prosperity.
To date, more than 90 laws and over 50 administrative regulations directly involving the protection of disabled people's rights and interests have been formulated and enforced in China, including the country's first specific law on building a barrier-free environment.
In June, Xi signed a presidential order to promulgate the law, which took effect on Sept. 1. This marks a significant stride toward enabling people with disabilities in China to more easily participate in and integrate into all aspects of social life on an equal footing. ■