Promoting sports for persons with disabilities has become an integral part of China’s drive to help the country’s disabled. Hosting the 2022 Winter Paralympic Games will create more opportunities for persons with disabilities and enable them to realize their dreams, says Zhang Haidi, chairwoman of the China Disabled Persons’ Federation and head of the Beijing Winter Paralympics Chinese delegation, in her exclusive article for Decision Makers. Decision Makers is CGTN’s global platform for influential leaders to share their insights on events shaping today’s world.
Zhang was an important member of Beijing’s Bid Delegation for the 2022 Olympics and Paralympics Games. According to her, the Beijing 2008 Paralympic Games greatly helped promote the development of the work on disability in China. Since 2016 we have witnessed the continuous progress of China’s winter parasports, with the number of athletes increasing from less than 50 to over 1,000, covering all major events of the Winter Games.
To embrace the Beijing 2022 Paralympic Games, Zhang says that China has made full preparations, ranging from setting up a competitive winter Paralympic team to building the National Ice Sports Arena for People with Disabilities and many other new accessibility facilities.
As the host country for the 2022 Paralympic Games, China is determined to promote the development of the work on disability, improve the overall level of parasports, and encourage more people with disabilities to engage in sports. It’s worth mentioning that China was amongst the earliest countries that called for developing a UN convention to safeguard the rights and interests of persons with disabilities, and was among the first groups of countries to sign the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. Meanwhile, active efforts have been made in promoting the inclusion of disability issues into the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda.
In short, Zhang says that the Paralympic Games play an important role in protecting the rights and interests of people with disabilities, improving their living conditions and raising social awareness. The success of the 2008 Beijing Paralympic Games paved the way for the host of the 2022 Winter Paralympic Games to provide a stage for all people with disabilities to realize their dreams and present their perseverance, determination, and possibilities to the whole world.