Democracy that can be truly touched

How a visually impaired deputy of 14th NPC received 1st braille version of replies to his suggestion
“For our blind community, this is a ‘tangible’ democracy!” Wang Yongcheng couldn’t help but feel emotional as his fingertips traced the braille on the paper.

Recently, as a visually impaired deputy of the National People’s Congress, Wang received four braille versions of replies to deputy’s suggestions from the Ministry of Education, the National Health Commission, China Railway Group, and the China Disabled Persons’ Federation. These replies were personally delivered from the four related units.

Wang is the only visually impaired deputy of the 14th National People’s Congress (NPC).

After being elected as a NPC deputy, he conducted in-depth research and put forward several suggestions regarding visually impaired group’s employment, education, and the construction of barrier-free environments. Deputy’s suggestions must receive replies, but how can these replies be made “visible” to Wang? Thus, the braille version of the replies to deputy suggestions, the first of its kind, was created by the NPC.

In 1985, at the age of 19, Wang lost his sight due to an accident. He once felt lost and hopeless, but eventually overcame unimaginable difficulties through learning and working as a blind masseur. He established blind massage training classes in 1996 and later founded the Fujian Straits Blind Massage Guidance Center, which has trained over 6,000 visually impaired masseurs for free, achieving a 98 percent employment rate and helping more visually impaired individuals rid of poverty and become self-reliant.

As a deputy of the 14th NPC, Wang brings a genuine understanding and empathy for the practical needs of the visually impaired community .

“We may not be able to see others, but we can let more people see us!” Wang said. He gave an example of his suggestions during one of the 14th NPC sessions, which was about publishing large-print textbooks for visually impaired students in regular schools and calling for the acceleration of barrier-free environment construction.

At the time, the legislation work for the construction of barrier-free environments was in full swing. In May, the Constitution and Law Committee of the NPC conducted research into a draft law for the construction of barrier-free environments in East China’s Fujian Province, and further listened to the opinions put forward by Wang.

Based on the opinions of Wang and relevant parties, the draft law included the provision: “The country encourages textbook compiling and publishing units to compile and publish braille and versions of teaching materials for low-vision students according to the actual needs of different educational stages, to meet the learning needs of visually impaired students.”

“When I learned that my suggestions were adopted during the review of the draft law, I was particularly excited,” said Wang. In June, the Third Session of the 14th NPC Standing Committee was held, and the draft law for the construction of barrier-free environments was one of the important agenda items, with Wang invited to attend the meeting. On June 28, the Third Session of the 14th NPC Standing Committee voted to pass the law on the construction of barrier-free environments, and Wang’s suggestions were officially incorporated into the law.

Now, with the implementation of the law, 13 large-print textbooks have been launched for  the autumn semester of 2023. The  Ministry of Education will continue to promote the development of inclusive education in collaboration with relevant departments, providing more convenience for visually impaired students to study in regular classes.

“Turning each suggestion into tangible benefits for the people vividly illustrates the true essence of the whole-process people’s democracy,” said people in charge of the deputy work committee of the NPC Standing Committee, emphasizing that the committee strengthens the overall coordination of deputies’ proposals and suggestions, improves the coordination mechanism for handling deputies’ proposals, establishes a communication mechanism for the whole process, and establishes a tracking and implementation mechanism for the reply commitments of deputies’ proposals, urging each responsible unit to handle each suggestion with dedication and effort.

On June 6, the deputy work committee of the NPC Standing Committee organized the National Health Commission, the National Administration of Traditional Chinese Medicine, the China Disabled Persons’ Federation, and other departments held face-to-face discussions and exchanges with Wang, patiently and meticulously communicating and consulting, jointly studying the handling of suggestions.

In order to promote the resolution of urgent and difficult issues faced by visually impaired individuals, the deputy work committee, together with the National Health Commission, China Disabled Persons’ Federation, National Administration of Traditional Chinese Medicine, and National Healthcare Security Administration, visited Fuzhou, Fujian in August. They held in-depth face-to-face discussions with Wang and conducted joint research at a blind massage center, truly understanding the situation, identifying the problems accurately, and proposing effective strategies.

“During the first session of the 14th NPC, deputies collectively put forward 8,314 suggestions, all of which have been reviewed and responded to,” said the people in charge of the deputy work committee of the Standing Committee of the NPC. The 204 handling units have integrated the handling of deputies’ suggestions with the implementation of major decisions and deployments of the Party, the promotion of their own major work, and the resolution of key and difficult issues concerning the concerns of the people and society. They have made efforts to transform valuable and high-quality suggestions put forward by deputies into policy measures for deepening reforms, solving problems, and promoting development, which are implemented to ensure that the people can truly feel a sense of achievement and happiness.

Global Times

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