BEIJING, Aug. 1 (Xinhua) -- China has registered progress in improving accessibility for persons with disabilities or physical challenges since the release of a set of regulations on the initiative in 2012.
Adopted by the State Council, the Regulations on the Building of an Accessible Environment took effect on Aug. 1, 2012.
Over the last seven years, China has upgraded relevant policies and standards and improved the accessibility of urban and rural public facilities, information and services for those in need.
The latest development was an accessible environment-themed exhibition held over the weekend in Shanghai, which introduced tailored consumer products ranging from Apps that can read out the screen content of users' mobile phones to hats that provide voice navigation prompts.
Beijing has taken into account the difficulties facing physically challenged people in designing and building its new airport in the southern suburb.
The airport will feature barrier-free infrastructure that falls into eight categories including parking, passageway, public transportation and service.
According to a white paper released on July 25 on China's efforts in protecting the rights and interests of persons with disabilities over the past 70 years, 1,702 cities and counties nationwide had initiated efforts to improve accessibility and remove barriers by 2018. The government has also accelerated the pace of adapting the houses of families with disabled members and improved almost 3 million of such houses between 2016 and 2018.
Song Yu, an assistant research fellow with the Institute of Sociology under the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, said that an accessible environment is not only for the good of the population of 85 million persons with disabilities.
China now has 250 million people aged above 60, among whom over 40 million are with total or partial incapacity and are also in need of better accessibility. As China's population is aging rapidly, it has become more important to create an accessible environment.