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Handless Chinese photographer tells stories of disabled (3)
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14:30, September 09, 2008

Ge Bin, 18, a deaf-mute from Beijing's Fourth Deaf-Mute School, said in sign language: "I was very low before I came to the exhibition, but the pictures touched me. I will treasure every minute in life and work hard." Pointing to a disabled athlete's expression, he said: "I can feel she is going all out!"

Liu Jianchao, 19, a classmate, said in sign language: "My hometown is in Sichuan. After the earthquake in May, many people there became the same as us, disabled. The pictures can encourage them to stand up to the odds in life."

Zheng worked at the disabled persons' federation in Lin'an for years and is familiar with feelings of the disabled.

"The disabled are very sensitive. Sometimes your looks or gestures might not hurt others, but the disabled might think more of them. It's understandable, as only those at a disadvantage are sensitive."

Society is increasingly friendly to the disabled and to ending work, educational and other discrimination against them.

"But there is still much to do. Much of China's population is having a better life, but many of the disabled are struggling for food and clothing. Some want a job instead of sitting idle, waiting for subsidies, but they can't get enough work opportunities."

Zheng classified the disabled into three categories. "Some disabled are persistent in pursuing career success. Some are highly dependent and give up easily, for example, some beggars. The majority are those who work hard with dignity and rely on themselves to make a living."

"The disabled need moral support most," Zheng said. "A fatal defeat for them is to lose self-confidence."

The disabled have different life experiences. In particular, "they face more adversity than opportunity and must 'sweat more' for anything."

Zheng understands them: they hope for more respect than sympathy.

A training point for Paralympics volunteers is also being promoted to the public: you must get consent before trying to help a disabled person.

"The disabled never hold too high an expectation of others. Even for the most successful disabled person I photographed, I felt their top priority was to be treated as an equal."

Source: Xinhua

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