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Chongqing lets guide dogs for blind in public

(China Daily)

13:20, November 27, 2011

Blind residents will be able to take their guide dogs on public transportation in Chongqing as the municipal legislature revised a draft regulation on the protection of the disabled on Friday.

The regulation will take effect on Jan 1.

When a third draft of the regulation was delivered for discussion at the meeting of the municipal people's congress standing committee on Wednesday, a stipulation that "blind people can take their guide dogs to public venues and public transportation", which appeared in the second draft, had been removed.

The reason given for the removal was that it conflicted with the local regulations on the management of rail traffic, which say: "No pets and other animals are allowed to be brought on the rail transport system and violators will be fined 20 yuan to 100 yuan ($3 to $15.4)".

China National Radio reported on Thursday that the then-current draft would not permit the blind to bring guide dogs on public transportation or to public places. The report was widely repeated, making headlines on various news websites and setting off controversy.

When contacted by China Daily on Friday, the Disabled Persons' Federation of Chongqing said the report was misleading and that the regulation had re-added the stipulation before it was sent for approval on Friday morning.

Wang Xi, who works in Chongqing Municipal People's Congress' legislative affairs commission, also confirmed to China Daily that "blind people will be able to take their guide dogs with certification markings to any public places and public transportation vehicles."

Though there is no "real" guide dog - trained guide dog with certification - in Chongqing yet, Chen Guangguo, chairman of the standing committee of Chongqing Municipal People's Congress, said the regulation should still keep the stipulation to protect blind people's rights. The attributives "registered, certified and labeled" to define the guide dogs were also added in the stipulation at his suggestion.

Other cities have different regulations regarding to guide dogs.

Shanghai's regulations said pet dogs are not allowed to be brought into public places such as schools, hospitals and libraries, but "blind people who take their guide dogs are not restricted by this regulation".

In Beijing, guide dogs still have limited access to public venues and are not allowed on public transportation vehicles.

According to a report by Beijing Morning Post, a guide dog gained 6 kilograms after it lived in Beijing for a year. Its master said the reason was lack of exercises. "We can only go out for a short walk, and we are not allowed to enter any parks, shops and restaurants," said its owner, surnamed Qi.

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