Disabled petitioners demand accessible toilets on trains

Li Chong demands discount travel as outlined in the Law of the People’s Republic of China on Protection of Disabled Persons outside the Ministry of Railways in Xicheng district on Wednesday morning. Photo: Courtesy of Yirenping Center

Appealing for disabled toilets and half-price tickets on behalf of 353 disabled people, a Henan man sent a petition to the Ministry of Railways on Wednesday.

Wang Jinlei sent the letter signed by 353 disabled people from Zhengzhou, Henan Province by express mail to Beijing on Wednesday morning.

“I once took a train from Guangzhou to Zhengzhou,” Wang told the Global Times Thursday. “There was no toilet for the physically challenged, so I didn’t dare drink any water during the 16-hour, 41-minute ride.”

The fact that disabled people cannot obtain train discounts makes train travel unnecessarily inconvenient for them, the petition letter read.

To cooperate with Wang, Li Chong, a disabled man who works in Beijing, held up a giant train ticket outside the gate of the Ministry of Railways in Xicheng district on Wednesday morning. His placard depicted a departure location of “full price” to the destination “half price” with the time replaced by three question marks.

The average annual income of families with disabled family members was 4,864 yuan ($761) in urban areas and 2,260 yuan in rural areas in 2005, according to National Bureau of Statistics figures released on May 28, 2007.
Annual disposable income per capita in urban areas that year averaged 10,493 yuan and 3,255 yuan in rural areas.

“What that means is that most families with a physically challenged family member earn less than a single person,” said Lu Jun, director of the non-governmental organization Beijing Yirenping Center, dedicated to promoting social justice and public well-being, and initiator of the letter.

Government above county level should provide disabled people with assistance and privileges when they travel, according to the Law of the People’s Republic of China on Protection of Disabled Persons.

“As a provincial-level government institution, the Ministry of Railways should fulfill this obligation,” Lu said.
The Ministry of Railways could not be reached for comment Thursday.

Globa Times

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