The torch was lit on Thursday for the nine-day relay for the Beijing Paralympics. The relay begins on Friday; the Paralympics runs from Sept. 6-17.
Here is some key information about China's disabled population. All data from the China Disabled Persons' Federation unless otherwise stated.
DISABLED POPULATION: About 82.7 million, including 12.3 million with visual disabilities, 20 million with hearing disabilities, 1.3 million with speech disabilities, 24.1 million with physical disabilities, 5.5 million mentally retarded, 6.1 million with psychiatric disabilities and 13.5 million with multiple disabilities.
LEGAL STATUS: The Law of the People's Republic of China on the Protection of Persons with Disabilities was adopted at the 17th Meeting of the Standing Committee of the Seventh National People's Congress, the top legislature, on Dec. 28, 1990 and revised on April 24 this year.
At end-2007, there were 2,677 legal aid centers for the disabled that had handled more than 20,000 discrimination cases.
REHABILITATION: In 2007, some 53.6 million people received a wide range of services. These included 800,000 cataract operations, mobility training for more than 12,000 blind people, hearing aids for about 6,000 low-income deaf children, and special training for more than 1,000 autistic children.
Almost 4,000 corrective surgeries were carried out on lepers and 23,000 low-cost artificial limbs were provided to various patients. About 950,000 other devices were supplied.
More than 5,800 rehabilitation centers for the physically disabled were set up and training was provided to 88,000 people. Some 26,000 children aged below 14 with intellectual disabilities were treated.
Community-based rehabilitation services were provided to 5.6 million people.
EDUCATION: There were 1,667 special schools and 2,803 special classes affiliated with mainstream schools for blind, deaf and intellectually disabled children, enrolling 580,000 students.
CULTURE: At end-2007, China had 35 provincial level libraries with Braille and audio reading materials. At the city level, there were 259 libraries with such materials.
NATIONAL DAY FOR THE DISABLED: Since 1991, the third Sunday of May has been designated for this purpose.