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People's Daily Online>>China Politics

"Two sessions" sign language sends good signals

(Xinhua)

08:27, March 16, 2012

BEIJING, March 15 (Xinhua) -- This year was the first time that sign language interpretation was provided for the live broadcast of the annual sessions of China's top legislature and political advisory body, a highly significant development for the government and broader society.

Manning the live broadcast of the "two sessions," the major annual meetings of the National People's Congress and the National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference, with a sign language interpreter is an effective way of ensuring citizens with disabilities are treated fairly in political affairs.

In China, it is stipulated by law that the disabled enjoy equal rights as other citizens in political, economic, cultural and social fields, as well as in family life. Citizens' rights and dignity are legally protected.

Deploying sign language interpretation could effectively meet the demand of more than 20 million Chinese with hearing difficulties to watch the "two sessions" live and learn about state affairs.

Pairing sign language interpretation with the live broadcast of the "two sessions," a major political event that usually draws wide attention, is also a signal of ever-increasing efforts by the Communist Party of China and the government to protect disabled rights. That can only encourage the entire society to respect and care for the disabled.

Moreover, the sign language provided in this high-profile case showcased China internationally as a country that places great value on the rights of the disabled, and takes vigorous measures to protect these interests.

China was among the first signatories of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, and ratified the convention in 2008, earlier than many of its peers.

The convention provides that state parties shall take all appropriate measures, including by "recognizing and promoting the use of sign languages," to ensure the disabled can exercise the freedom to "seek, receive and impart information and ideas on an equal basis with others and through all forms of communication of their choice."

Therefore, this move at the "two sessions" shows that China is exerting itself to honor its obligations under the convention.

The move required both approval and cooperation from different government departments. It is innovation in government work with far-reaching significance.

(Liu Huawen, associate research fellow and assistant director of the Institute of International Law of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, contributed to this article.)

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