At Leeds CDS for ‘Developing Disability Rights in China’ event

I was fortunate enough to be invited to chair a session at the University of Leeds ‘Developing Disability Rights in China: From Paper to Practice?’ jointly organised with China Vision and NUI Galway.

I’ve always been interested in disability news from China so I think this is a great opportunity to catch a glimpse into disability movement there and perspectives from Chinese activists and researchers. A heartfelt thank you to CDS, China Vision and NUI Galway for making it happen. I hope it will lead to more in a similar vein.

Developing Disability Rights in China: From Paper to Practice?

It was fascinating to listen to the Chinese experts speaking on the status of disability law in China and bringing in some test cases. I was particularly taken by Chen Bo’s talk on Mental Health Law in China with examples on recent law cases. He mentioned a woman whose family tried to get her sectioned because she refused a marriage! And I thought it was hard having mental health issues in this country. The problems of having an imposed ‘guardian’ /carer who might be working against your best interests and moving you into a hospital/psychiatric institution.

And on inclusive education, there are many obstacles and challenges to basic education said Ni Zhen and not much resonable adjustments to help with access to higher education.  Disabled students still have to prove that they can achieve without support. He also said he thought that in the hierachy of impairments, it is those with physical impairments are at the top. It is the medical model (undoubtedly) which prevails.

I found it sobering that they rely so much on the UNCRPD – one of the speakers said it was like a bible. The CRPD does not have any jurusdiction on domestic law – I am unclear what bearing /jurisdiction the CRPD has on the government there. Especially in the light of the UN Enquiry into the rights of persons with disabilities here in the UK – see the research briefings.

Anna also arranged a lovely informal dinner the night before.