BEIJING: A total of 150 disabled people were honored in Beijing Friday as national models for self-reliance.
They were the fourth batch of such honorees since China began in 1991 to honor disabled citizens for their unyielding spirits in the face of adversity.
Chinese President Hu Jintao (R, front) shakes hands with representatives
before a national meeting in Beijing Friday July 3, 2009. [Xinhua]
"I'm very happy and proud of myself," said 32-year-old Ma Yunli, one of the medal receivers.
A native in Yanan in northwest China's Shaanxi Province, the mentally-challenged girl was winner of several medals of Paralympic Games.
"Through years' efforts, I can basically take care of myself and can even do some simple things for my family members," she said.
"I achieved my success with the help of many kindhearted people," she said. "There are still many mentally-challenged people like me who need to be taken care of and aspire for help. I also want them to achieve success."
According to the China Disabled Persons' Federation (CDPF), the honored disabled this year aged from 19 to 72. Some of them are workers, farmers, students, and others come from various sectors including education, medical service, law, culture and science.
Among them, 97 suffer from limb disabilities, 32 are sight-disabled, 18 have hearing problems, two are mentally-impaired, one suffers from more than one kind of disability.
Also at Friday's conference, 200 institutions and 150 individuals were honored for the great help they had given to the disabled.
China has more than 83 million people with various kinds of disabilities, accounting for 6.34 percent of the total population.
Chinese leaders including Hu Jintao, Wen Jiabao, Li Changchun, Xi Jinping, and Li Keqiang met the delegates of the conference before it started.
Vice Premier Hui Liangyu said while addressing the meeting that the government should "speed up the establishment of social security and service systems for the disabled to create equal and better environment for them to participate in social affairs and for their all-round development."
Activities to help this group of people should be "more professional" and "standardized," said Hui, also director of the disabled working committee of the State Council, or Cabinet.
The CDPF's Chairwoman Zhang Haidi, a wheelchair-bound writer, presided over the conference.