Chinese state recruitment of just 92 disabled people sparks inquiry call
Disability rights activists in China have called for an investigation into why the government only recruited 92 people with disabilities in the past five years.
There are 85 million disabled people in China, but government departments in 29 provinces, autonomous regions and municipalities have only recruited 92 people with disabilities in recent years, a disabled man, Huang Rui, said in an open letter to the ministry of human resources and social security.
“I want to know how many disabled civil servants our country has, and whether the proportion has reached 1.5 per cent,” wrote Mr Huang (23), whose left leg was paralysed from polio in childhood. His letter was quoted in the China Daily newspaper.
It is rare to see disabled people on the streets in China, as disabilities are seen as a badge of family shame. There are reports of disabled children being tortured, abandoned, sold into servitude or forced to beg on the streets, but the 2008 Paralympics did much to bring disability into the public eye.
“The public service sector provides an important window for people with disabilities to showcase their talents and capabilities,” said Mr Huang.
The statistics first appeared in an evaluation report released by the standing committee of China’s parliament, the National People’s Congress, in August, which assessed how laws to protect disabled people were being enforced.
Most of the jobs offered to the disabled people were in the country’s disabled people federations.
Mr Huang said his experience highlighted the discrimination faced by disabled job applicants in public service. The law graduate applied for a job as a judge’s assistant in his home town in Henan province last year, and passed the exam. He came third out of 180 applicants. But he failed the interview – for all the wrong reasons, he believes.
A disability rights group in Nanjing, Tianxiagong, in the eastern province of Jiangsu, discovered that in Shanghai and 17 cities in Jiangsu, Zhejiang and Anhui provinces, disabled employees accounted for 0.03 per cent of local civil servants.
Twelve cities have not recruited any disabled people into public service in the past four years, the report said.
Under rules brought in by cabinet in 2007, all employers are required to allocate 1.5 per cent of their jobs to people with disabilities. The regulations also stipulate fines for those who break this rule.
“Only when the government takes the lead to recruit more disabled people will the public better understand people like me, and then other employers will become more willing to employ us,” he said.