Observation: Accessibility in China and Germany

In 2023, there are already more than 85 million people with disabilities in China. This means that for every dozen people, there is one person with a disability. That’s a very impressive ratio.

In most cities, public places are already equipped with barrier-free facilities, such as metro stations, railway stations and airports. However, despite the abundance of barrier-free facilities, it is still rare to see people with disabilities in real life. Due to the lack of attention paid to them in people’s daily lives, blind alleys are often blocked by obstacles, and this makes them even more afraid to go out. In some ways, people with disabilities are almost not in the same world as we are– even though physical illness is close at hand for everyone. China still needs to strengthen the protection of vulnerable groups, improve relevant policies and actively include them in compulsory education.

In the town I live in, I rarely see anyone in a wheelchair out on their own. In contrast, on my first day in Bremen, I saw no fewer than five mobility scooters, with users ranging from the young to the middle-aged and the elderly. They hardly needed any help getting on and off buses and trams, going to the supermarket, going to the post office and the bank to do their personal business, and even driving through the streets at great speed. At the university, I was even able to find ramps on different floors dedicated to wheelchairs that lead straight to the bathroom. These utilities are truly used in everyday life and with great frequency. The label disability is no longer a reason for people with disabilities to be stuck in their homes.

Living in two countries, the level of convenience in daily travelling is completely different. Although China’s economy is developing at a rapid pace, humanistic care still has a long way to go. It’s not just about developing the infrastructure, but also about changing attitudes and practical application. Many people are devastated after suffering a physical blow because family, friends and society, still hold more or less prejudice against them. In most cases, family members think they need to avoid the danger of travelling, friends think they can no longer travel in company, and society does not give them good psychological counselling and living accommodations. It is very worthwhile to learn how to build more service centres for the disabled to help them solve their psychological, living and employment problems.

Human beings are animals with dignity, and this dignity deserves the respect of the entire human society. When people are no longer confined by physical defects, the value of society becomes more prominent.


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