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Disabled couple compile encyclopedia for the deaf

(Xinhua)

16:36, June 21, 2012

HEFEI, June 21 (Xinhua) -- The first encyclopedic dictionary for the country's 20 million deaf and hear-impaired people was published early June, its compilers, a disabled couple in east Anhui province, told Xinhua Thursday.

The 200,000-word reference book embodies more than 1,000 entries about medicine, education, psychology, sociology, rehabilitation, linguistics, law, history and culture concerning the life of deaf people, according to the couple living in the provincial capital of Hefei.

"We first collected and sorted out relevant material by ourselves, and then consulted a number of experts across the country and invited them to make revisions to the book," said compiler Shi Li, a deaf woman who serves as deputy head of the provincial association of deaf people.

The exhaustive work, priced at 78 yuan (12 U.S. dollars), took Shi and her lame husband, Cui Jiping, six years and cost over a million yuan to compile.

"(Before reading the book,) I never imagined that there were records about the culture of deaf people dating back as early as the Warring States period (475 B.C. to 221 B.C.), and there were laws specially made to protect our rights," said Wang Hongqing, a deaf man in his 50s.

"The book shows that we're not alone, since it presents so many exchanges between the deaf across the world," Wang said.

The encyclopedia provides the deaf with a rational perspective on themselves and can help ordinary people know more about the group, which is significant in building a discrimination-free society, a senior official with the China Disabled People Union said in a congratulatory letter sent to the couple.

Shi said the idea to publish an encyclopedia for the deaf had long fermented in her mind.

"Many deaf people I met during my work raised the question that 'where can I get the information about my condition?' Some experts also mentioned the necessity of having a comprehensive book on the issue," said Shi, who went deaf after being improperly injected with an antibiotic drug at the age of three.

The compiling of the book was funded by the couple's company, which specializes in auxiliary facilities for the disabled.

In the past five years, the technology company, of which 70 percent of its employees are disabled, has invented, manufactured and sold dozens of products, such as the wireless doorbell alerting system for the deaf.

The 43-year-old Cui said the research and development team of the company is working on developing a global network that will allow disabled people to fully enjoy information and video services.

"In the next step, I've planned to open a museum for the deaf," he said.

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